Actor to play Spanish playwright Lope de Vega

Daniel Bruehl (“Goodbye Lenin!” “The Bourne Ultimatum”) has committed to topline “14,” to be directed by Andrucha Waddington (“House of Sand”) and produced by Antena 3 Films, Ikiru, El Toro Films and Brazil’s Conspiracao. Bruehl is up to play Spanish playwright Lope de Vega.

At E12 million, ($17.8 million), “14,” which will start shooting in early 2009, is one of the most expensive Spanish films set to go in production and will bow in 2010. With an original screenplay by Jordi Gasull and Ignacio del Moral, “14″ is produced by Teddy Villalba, Gasull, Edmon Roch and Waddington.

“14″ is a focused biopic of the 16-century Spanish playwright-poet who dominated Spain’s early Golden Age of theater with spirited romantic comedies.

The project also says much about new winds blowing through Spanish film industry. Bigger-budgeted Spanish pics are now driven by the film arms of national broadcasters, such as Antena 3.

“The film forms part of our production line: budgets above $12 million-$15 million with an international projection. We look for all the elements –directors, actors, and distributors — to achieve this. With his modern vision, Andrucha can make this a contemporary story,” said Villaba.

Looking to gain more worldwide exposure for its films, Spanish producers are often casting all sorts of nationalities. For “14,” Bruehl is half-Catalan and speaks perfect Spanish.

“The screenplay and subject fascinated me: a young man becoming an artist. Plus, it’s set when Spain was the center of the world,” Andrucha explained.

Increasingly, Spain’s commercial broadcasters are teaming with an emerging generation of more markets-minded Spanish producers. 

Brazil is emerging as an ever more frequent partner for international co-productions: “14″ is an 80%-20% Spain-Brazil co-production. Post will be carried out in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Film begins in 1588 when Lope is forced to choose between a relationship with a woman who can advance his career and another who represents true love, explained Jordi Gasull, for whom “Lope” has been a multiyear passion project.

“This is totally contemporary adventure and love story,” Roch added.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more