Actor in final negotiations to play artist

Antonio Banderas is in final negotiations to play Salvador Dali in the Simon West-helmed indie biopic “Dali.”

Media 8 Entertainment (“Monster”) is producing alongside West’s shingle, which has been developing the project since 2003, when West optioned the feature film rights to Jeremy Walters’ spec script for low- to mid-six figures.

Film will blend music with CGI sequences in an effort to capture the inventiveness and color of the painter. Story will explore how Dali conquered America and the world with sex, sin and surrealism only to succumb later to worldwide scandal and misfortune.

At least two other Dali biopics are in the works: Al Pacino is attached to play the artist in “Dali & I: The Surreal Story,” with Andrew Niccol directing; and “Twilight’s” Robert Pattinson stars as Dali in the upcoming “Little Ashes,” which chronicles the young life and loves of the painter as well as filmmaker Luis Bunuel and writer Federico Garcia Lorca.

West is producing “Dali” alongside Jib Polhemus (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”). Media 8 is handling worldwide sales, with pre-sales beginning this week at the American Film Market.

Media 8 has already sold the film in Eastern Europe to Revolutionary Releasing, which is comprised of some of the territory’s leading companies, including Monolith, Blitz, Bonton, Forum and MediaPro.

West added that the project will focus not only on Dali’s outrageous lifestyle but his lifelong love affair with Gala, his wife, muse and manipulative manager.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2009 in Spain and England. The film will be an international co-production.

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