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Myriad backs ‘Argentina’ pic

Banderas to topline supernatural period piece

This article was corrected on Oct. 31, 2001.

Myriad Pictures is set to fully finance a film adaptation of Lawrence Thornton’s “Imagining Argentina” with Antonio Banderas on board to play the lead and Christopher Hampton to helm, based on his own adaptation of the book.

Emma Thompson is in talks to play the co-lead.

Geoffrey Lands via Tide Rock Entertainment along with Michael Peyser and Diane Sillan of Banderas’ U.K-based Green Moon Prods. shingle will produce. Exec producers will be Kirk D’Amico, Philip von Alvensleben and Lucas Foster.

Myriad is understood to be in negotiations with Spanish and U.K. co-production partners. Film will begin lensing in Spain next April.

Set in Buenos Aires during the Peron era, “Imagining Argentina” centers on an Argentine playwright (Banderas) who has a preternatural ability to see what happens to people’s loved ones — many of whom are missing, or soon will be — when he looks into their faces. Ultimately, he must turn this power inward, when his activist journalist wife (Thompson), disappears.

Rights an issue

“Imagining” has been in development at Sony and Interscope and rights issues for the book have not yet been completely resolved. Hampton penned an adaptation for Sony and Richard Gere to star. At Interscope, Andy Garcia was to play the lead, with Oliver Parker directing.

Hampton, who penned “Dangerous Liaisons,” decided to direct the film and rework his original draft. Thornton is also the author of “Naming the Spirits,” the sequel to “Imagining Argentina.”

CAA reps Hampton and Banderas and will handle pic’s domestic sale. Hampton’s manager is U.K.-based Jenny Casarotto. Paradigm reps Thornton along with Gotham book agent Ned Leavitt. Thompson is repped by the William Morris Agency.

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