American actor Richard Dreyfuss has been forced to pull out of the London production of The Producers due to a shoulder and back injury.

The JAWS star, 56, who recently announced he was quitting the movie business to become a full-time thespian, will be replaced by Nathan Lane in the role of MAX BIALYSTOCK, who recently starred in the Broadway, New York, run of the Mel Brooks show.

Dreyfuss' ailments are due to a recurrence of a shoulder injury following an operation he had in January (04) for a herniated disc.

Theatre bosses released a statement today (18OCT04) saying it has become difficult for Dreyfuss "to fulfil the rigours of the role" but he hopes to return "when his condition permits".

The Producers' West End run is scheduled to begin at the British capital's Theatre Royal Drury Lane next Monday (25OCT04).

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY funnyman Lee Evans also stars in the show, and previously worked with Lane in the 1997 film MOUSE HUNT.

18/10/2004 14:21