Viggo Mortensen is in negotiations to topline the Spanish period adventure film "Alatriste," in the eponymous role of Captain Alatriste, a Spanish soldier-cum-mercenary embroiled in the country's 16th century imperial wars.
The pic is co-produced by Antonio Cardenal's Origen P.C. and Estudios Picasso, the production arm of broadcaster Telecinco, and has been written and will be directed by Agustin Diaz Yanes ("No News From God").
Mexican Gael Garcia Bernal ("The Motorcycle Diaries," "Bad Education") is in talks to play Alatriste's page Inigo.
Up-and-coming Spanish actress Elena Anaya ("Van Helsing," "Dead Fish") looks likely to have a co-starring role as Angelica de Alquezar, Inigo's love-interest.
"Alatriste" is budgeted at north of E20 million ($24.4 million), which would make it the most expensive Spanish film ever made, beating Roman Polanski (news)'s "The Ninth Gate," which Origen co-produced.
Unusually for such a high-range film by local standards, the pic will be shot in Spanish. Mortensen speaks perfect Spanish, having lived in Argentina for years.
Alatriste is "a beloved character in Spain," Mortensen declared on paybox Canal Plus Espana's cultural magazine "Lo Mas Plus" on Wednesday, confirming he was up for the role. "I'll have to learn how to speak the Spanish of the period," he added.
Mortensen was in Madrid to tub-thump "Hidalgo," which bows Friday. "Alatriste" will roll in January, shooting in the Spanish cities of Seville and Toledo, as well as in northern Spain.
is the protagonist of a five-novel series, "Las aventuras
del capitan Alatriste," written by one of Spain's bestselling novelists,
Arturo Perez Reverte.
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