Jessica, Britney May ‘Duke’ It Out Over Short Shorts

But it now appears Simpson is favored for role of Daisy Duke.

Britney Spears had better watch out — Jessica Simpson might just steal her Daisy Dukes right out from under her. Both have been said to be interested in the role of Bo and Luke Duke’s hottest cousin, but the “Newlyweds” star is emerging as the favorite.

Simpson had previously expressed interest in filling Barbara Eden’s harem pants in an upcoming “I Dream of Jeannie” movie (see “Jessica Simpson Dreams Of Jeannie Role, But Sitcom Comes First” ), but that project has stalled as it looks for a director. So now Simpson is seeing if she can squeeze into Catherine Bach’s hot pants in the movie remake of another classic television series, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Ashton Kutcher and Paul Walker are currently favorites to play Bo and Luke Duke.

“I would love to be Daisy Duke,” Simpson said. “I think that would be so much fun, just to wear the shorts. I would get to have my own car. I think it would be a blast.”

Simpson recently met with producer Bill Gerber to discuss taking a part in the TV show adaptation, which, like the CBS show that aired from 1979 to 1985, would focus on the adventures of two Southern cousins who race around Hazzard County in an orange Charger named the General Lee. Gerber sang the singer’s praises when he described the meeting to People magazine, saying Simpson is “young, moral, bright, gorgeous and Southern — everything that Daisy is.”

“The meeting just went really, really great,” Simpson said, “so we’ll see. ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ is a little further behind, so the ‘Dukes’ will be first to go. I honestly don’t know when I’ll find out, but they start shooting in May or June, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

Simpson’s also keeping her fingers crossed for a long-hinted-about Marvel Comics movie, the details of which she’d been keeping quiet about. Now, however, she’s confirmed that she shot a screen test for “Mort the Dead Teenager,” based on an adaptation of an obscure, out-of-print title that follows the ghost of a teen who is commanded by Death to haunt the friends he had during his life, including the girl of his dreams (the role the singer wants).

“It’s an adorable script,” Simpson said. “I would love to do it. It’s the next ‘Back to the Future,’ it’s that cool. I think it’ll have a cult-type following. It’s a clever, clever script, and the way it could be shot would be really cool.”

One glitch — the film is languishing in development. Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis bought the books for adaptation, commissioned a script and enlisted Elijah Wood to play Mort. Then DreamWorks sold the rights to Artisan Entertainment. Then it was sold again, this time to Quentin Tarantino’s A Band Apart and Madonna’s Maverick Films for them to co-produce, with distribution by Dimension/Miramax. Now, a rep for Dimension says they’re not involved, and a rep for Marvel says there’s no director, leaving the project in limbo.

“I think it’s just about placing it with the right studio,” Simpson said. “And if they can still get Elijah, that would be perfect.”

Though the singer has had much less acting experience than her potential co-stars, she said her experience with “Newlyweds” more than makes up for her lack of screen time.

“I’m really not nervous. … I’ve had cameras in my house the past year,” she said. “I’m so comfortable in front of a camera, like it’s not even there, and it’s helped me relax. It’s given me so much more than any audition, script, time on camera, whatever it may be. And I’ve been really picky about the first movie role I do. I don’t want to do a movie just to see myself on the big screen. That’s not what it’s about for me. I want to be a legitimate movie star, and I think it’s all about making the right decision about the beginning roles in your career. I’m trying to be very wise about it.”

For a full-length feature on Jessica Simpson, check out “Jessica Simpson: The Innocent.”