Focus picks up ‘Agora’

Deal excludes North America and Spain

Focus Features Intl. has acquired international sales and distribution rights to Alejandro Amenabar’s Roman Egypt epic “Agora.”

Deal excludes North America and Spain.

The second English-language film from Academy-winning Amenabar (“The Sea Inside”) after “The Others,” the 4th-century A.D. “Agora” toplines Rachel Weisz as astrologer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria.

Trapped in the Library of Alexandria as religious riots flare on the city’s streets, Hypatia battles to save the collected wisdom of the ancient world.

Meanwhile, her slave Davus (Max Minghella of “Art School Confidential”) is torn between his love for his mistress and the freedom he could attain by joining the rising tide of Christianity.

Currently shooting on location in Malta, “Agora” is the first production from Fernando Bovaira’s new Madrid-based banner Mod Producciones.

From a screenplay by Amenabar and regular co-writing partner Mateo Gil, “Agora” is majority produced by Telecinco Cinema, producers of Steven Soderbergh’s “The Argentine” and “Guerrilla” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

Amenabar’s own label, Himenoptero, also produces. Spain’s Sogecable supplies co-financing.

Cast is rounded out by Oscar Isaac (“The Nativity”), Ashraf Barhom (“The Kingdom”) , Michael Lonsdale (“Munich”), Rupert Evans (“Hellboy”) and Homayoun Ershadi (“The Kite Runner”).

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