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Ormond to star in ‘Escorial’

Costumer also stars Isaacs

MADRID — British thesps Julia Ormond and Jason Isaacs will topline palace skullduggery thriller “La conjura de El Escorial” (The El Escorial Conspiracy), a European co-production helmed by Spanish director-producer Antonio del Real (“Cha, Cha, Cha”).

“Escorial” is inspired by events that took place in Spain during the 16th century at the court of King Philip II. It turns on the devious political turfwars fought by conniving factions. A traitor to the king, Antonio Perez (Isaacs), and the Princess of Eboli (Ormond) played key roles in one these plots.

The shoot of the English and Spanish language project rolls from next Monday. The pic will lense on locations in Spain and Portugal for 12 weeks. Isaacs will join the shoot Sept. 12 while Ormond, who is now wrapping her role in David Fincher’s drama “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” will come to Spain by the end of September, Del Real told Daily Variety.

Pic is co-produced by Del Real’s Mascara Films, Germany’s Rheingold Films, Italia’s Settima Luna and Portugal’s MGN Filmes.

Del Real, Manuel Mir Juan Antonio Porto and Marta Rivera de la Cruz wrote the screenplay.

North American actor-producer Tony Peck will exec produce and also will have a role as an actor.

Cast also includes German actor Juergen Prochnow (“The Da Vinci Code”), Italian thesp Fabio Testi (“Torrente 3”) and Daniele Liotti (“Mad Love”), Portugal’s Joaquim de Almeida and Spanish actresses Juanjo Puigcorbe, Blanca Jara, Assumpta Serna, Pablo Puyol and Concha Cuetos.

Sony Pictures will handle Spanish distribution. Pubcaster TVE and Madrid’s regional pubcaster Telemadrid have taken free-to-air rights. Paybox Canal Plus bought pay TV rights.

Castille-La Mancha and Andalusia’s Jaen local governments are also backing the project.

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