'Rainey' could be hot helmer's feature debut

Actress Cecilia Roth (“All About my Mother”) and Brit-director Miguel Sapochnik have boarded contempo vengeance thriller “Rainey the Assassin,” an Argentine-Spanish-U.K. pic produced by Matthias Ehrenberg’s Latin American-based Rio Negro Prods., Buena Onda Films in London and Madrid’s Galba.

Buena Onda’s Piers Tempest and Marina Fuentes will co-produce.

Brit sales agent Lumina Films will handle international sales.

Based on the novel, “Rainy, el asesino” by Mexican Hector Manjarrez, screenplay is by Brian Horiuchi (“America So Beautiful”).

“Rainey” could be the long-awaited feature debut of Sapochnik, one of the U.K.’s most talked-up young directors since Miramax inked in 2001 to develop a feature based on Sapochnik’s short “The Dreamer.”

The producers are in talks with Argentinean Ricardo Darin (“Son of the Bride,” “Nine Queens”) to play pic’s lead, Dr. Juan Alberto Rainey Saenz, a polo-playing psychiatrist in Buenos Aires who becomes obsessed with avenging the execution of a distant cousin by a British officer 25 years earlier in the Falklands War.

Roth will play Rainey’s love interest, Martha Fishitch.

“It’s a story about futile vengeance triggered by a futile war,” Ehrenberg said at Cannes.

To be shot in a “hyper-realist, modern style, charting emotional escalation,” in Tempest’s words, “Rainey” will bring together a range of cultural sensibilities. Sapochnik is half-Argentinean; Horiuchi is a U.S. screenwriter of Japanese descent. Pic is skedded to shoot in Argentina and the U.K., in English and Spanish, from late 2006/early 2007.

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