Not fabulous as Hollywood steals Lancashire show

Movie row: British actress furious as she loses out to starlet in pounds 3m film
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The British actress Jane Horrocks, best known for her television role as Bubbles in Absolutely Fabulous, has been beaten to a starring role in a pounds 3m movie by a Hollywood starlet.

The role, that of a Lancashire girl who has a gift of mimicry and can imitate stars such as Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Cilla Black, is one that Horrocks made her own on the British stage. She had been asked to star in the film version of her West End hit the Rise and Fall of Little Voice and yesterday she ridiculed the change of heart by the film company Miramax which means that an all-American cast will play a working-class Lancashire family

The role will now go to Gwyneth Paltrow, girlfriend of Brad Pitt, the Hollywood actor, who will also be in the film.

"It is so farcical you can only laugh about it," Horrocks said of the decision. "If you get angry about it you would just grind yourself down.

"It is so ludicrous. It is like doing Ab Fab [in which she plays Bubbles, the dim secretary] in America. They have got to have it because it has been a success here.

"I don't know why they can't appreciate something for what it is. If you try to transport the Lancashire dialect to America the play would not work."

She added: "I don't want them to destroy the play by not understanding what it is about."

Pitt is tipped to play the male lead role and Meryl Streep the part of the mother, which was played in Britain by Alison Steadman.

Horrocks starred in the play for eight months in London, and was critically acclaimed for her ability to mimic the voices of Hollywood stars of the past.