Banderas circles role in ‘Fu Manchu’

Pic heads English-language slate at Lolafilms

GIJON, Spain — Antonio Banderas is in talks to star in “Fu Manchu,” the next film from hot Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia.

Pic marks the return to English-lingo filmmaking by Iglesia, who helmed the Tex-Mex road movie “Perdita Durango,” after two Spanish-lingo B.O. hits, “Dying of Laughter” and “Commonwealth.”

One of the biggest-budgeted English-language projects likely to come out of Europe next year, “Fu Manchu” would star Banderas as Nick Smith, an amnesiac, Latino FBI agent who’s on the trail of the mythical and dastardly Chinese doctor.

Budgeted at $15 million-$20 million and skedded to roll some time in 2001, pic is to be produced by top Spanish production house Lolafilms.

Headed by CEO Andres Vicente Gomez, Lolafilms is owned by film and TV conglom Telefonica Media.

Banderas previously starred in the Lolafilms-produced “Two Much.” He has repeatedly expressed his desire to mix work in Hollywood and Spanish productions.

“Fu Manchu” heads the English-language development slate at Lolafilms. Other English-lingo projects in early development at Lola include a biopic of English writer Robert Graves, “Loving the Goddess,” and the New York-set romancer “On a Blue Note,” to be helmed by Spaniard Manuel Lombadero from a screenplay penned by Lombadero and Jim Barton.

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