Though she’s currently in the midst of shooting her first film role, playing Daisy Duke in the big-screen version of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Jessica Simpson has already lined up her second. The singer will star in the riches-to-rags romantic comedy “Room Service” as a spoiled socialite forced to work as a hotel maid when she’s disinherited.
In this adaptation of Beverly Brandt’s book of the same name, Simpson will play Katya Morgan, a Paris Hilton type who’s always getting into trouble — until she gets the news of her father’s death. In short order, the character goes from luxuriating in a villa to cleaning toilets and making beds to pay off her bill in the Scottsdale, Arizona, hotel where she stayed during her father’s funeral.
As she works to pay off her tab, she finds love with the hotel’s general manager. At the same time, she manages to pass tests secretly laid out in her father’s will — such as staying gainfully employed and not appearing in the tabloids more than three times in a year — thus earning back the inheritance she thought she’d never receive. Janus Cercone, who wrote “Ed” and “Leap of Faith,” will adapt the screenplay, which Brandt says she won’t have any input on.
“I’m hoping there’s a few scenes they won’t change,” Brandt said, “like when Katya is at her stepmother’s house five miles away from town, and she won’t let her in, and she has to pee. She can’t walk in to town in time, so she’s squatting with the scorpions when the police come to arrest her. Or when she’s at a charity benefit, and she doesn’t realize at first that they’re auctioning off her belongings. When she does, she starts stuffing her shoes down her shirt. They end up tackling her on the stairs, and the shoes go everywhere.”
Brandt said Simpson is the perfect choice to play Katya, since her character also “doesn’t really know how to do things normal women know how to do,” such as cooking and cleaning. “I don’t want to say she’s clueless, but she’s not in the reality most of us are in,” Brandt said. “She’s sort of innocent.”
Simpson’s father, Joe Simpson, will co-produce the picture along with Emmett/ Furla Films and Valhalla Motion Pictures. He is also serving as an executive producer for “Wannabe,” which features Jessica’s sister, Ashlee (see “Ashlee Simpson Trades Spotlight For Supporting Role In ‘Wannabe’ “ ).
“Room Service” isn’t the only upcoming release about a rich girl forced to fend for herself. “Material Girls,” starring Hilary and Haylie Duff as sibling heiresses who lose their fortune, is scheduled to begin shooting in January (see “Duff Sisters To Channel The Hiltons, And Possibly Madonna, For ‘Material Girls’ “ ).
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