Thesps take breath of indie ‘Air’

Pic will begin shooting in Mexico City in January

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ken Watanabe and Diego Luna are negotiating to star in “The Air I Breathe,” to be directed by Jieho Lee for Emilio Diez Barroso’s Nala Films and Paul Schiff Prods.

Pic will begin shooting in Mexico City in January.

Crime drama penned by Jieho and Bob DeRosa is based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones — happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love.

Producers are Diez Barroso, Nala’s Darlene Caamano and Schiff. Tai Duncan of Paul Schiff Prods. and Christopher Pratt are exec producing.

Nala Films, recently founded by Diez Barroso — the great-grandson of late Televisa founder Emilio “el Tigre” Azcarraga — is financing the film with a budget under $10 million. Nala has raised significant coin from private investors in Mexico and tapped into film subsidy programs there.

Schiff, who is producing outside his deal with Sony Pictures, brought the project to Nala, which aims to finance three to four English-language pics per year in the $6 million to $12 million range.

Gellar stars in the upcoming “Southland Tales,” while Watanabe next appears in “Memoirs of a Geisha.” Luna stars in the upcoming “Solo dios sabe.”

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