Amenabar godfathers ‘Mal ajeno’

Santos makes directorial debut

MADRID — After Guillermo del Toro’s mentor role on Cannes hit “The Orphanage,” Alejandro Amenabar (“The Others,” “The Sea Inside”) will godfather “El Mal ajeno,” the directorial feature debut of helmer Oskar Santos, with Belen Rueda (“The Sea Inside,” “The Orphanage”) attached in a lede femme role.

Santos, a close friend of Amenabar, shot a detailed documentary on the making of “The Sea Inside.”

In an impressive array of talent, pic will be produced by Amenabar and Sogecable exec Fernando Bovaira, the driving force with Amenabar behind “The Others” as well as the producer of “The Sea Inside.”

Film is structured as a co-production between Sogecable production arm Sogecine, the producer of films by Amenabar and Julio Medem, and Amenabar’s label, Himenoptero.

The screenplay for “Mal” has been written by Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, the director-writer of last year’s seminal debut “DarkBlueAlmostBlack,” which brought down the flag on a new generation of Spanish filmmakers.

“Mal” is a mixed-genre doctors drama laced with fantasy and suspense elements, said Rueda.

Ramon Sampedro’s attorney friend in “The Sea Inside” and the traumatized mother of “The Orphanage,” Rueda will play the wife of a patient.

The male lede, a fortysomething doctor, has still to be cast.

But the caliber of the producers, screenwriters and key cast, plus buzz on the screenplay, makes this one of the hottest upcoming pics from Spain: the producers should be able to attract an actor of considerable stature.

“El Mal ajeno” rolls early 2008.

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