Radford rides Spanish ‘Mule’

Dramatic comedy is set during Spain's Civil War

Helmer Michael Radford (“The Merchant of Venice”) is attached to direct “La mula” (The Mule), a dramedy set during the last months of the Spanish Civil War.

Pic adapts the novel of the same title by Spanish author Juan Eslava Galan, who also wrote the film’s screenplay.

A true-life story based on the experiences of the author’s father, who was forced to fight for both sides during the war, “Mule” turns on a soldier, Juan Castro, who finds a mule on the battlefield, and hides it among his company’s other mules.

The animal will accompany him during his cross-grained experiences as the Civil War draws to a close.

“Mule” is structured as a Spain-U.K. co-production between Madrid’s Gheko Films and London-based the Bureau. Gheko’s Alejandra Frade and Bruce St. Clair, and the Bureau’s manager Soledad Gatti-Pascual, who produced Radford’s seg of “Ten Minutes Older,” will take production credits. Budget will be around E10 million-E 14 million ($12.3 million-$17.2 million).

Daniel Wuthrich at Paris-based Capricorn Entertainment will handle international sales.

Radford will join the project when he comes off “Flawless,” with Michael Caine and Demi Moore. A Spanish speaker, Radford’s idea is to shoot pic in Spanish.

Producers aim to shoot in and around Cordoba and Burgos in Spain from early 2007.

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