Actress in early negotiations to star in 'World'

Penelope Cruz is in early negotiations to reteam with Sergio Castellitto, the Italian director whose 2004 “Don’t Move” gave the thesp her first career-making role.

At Friday’s Madrid press screening of Pedro Almodovar’s “Embraces,” in which she stars, Cruz said, “We’re starting to talk but I can’t confirm anything concrete.”

Castellitto wants Cruz as lead femme in “Venuto al mondo” (Into the World). Like “Don’t Move,” the Sarajevo-set drama about a single mother is based on a novel by Castellitto’s wife, Margaret Mazzantini. Castellitto’s producers, Roberto Cicutto and Luigi Musini, are putting together the financing on “World.”

Pic is unlikely to start lensing this year: Cruz said she intends to spend most of 2009 promoting “Broken Embraces” during its international rollout, which lasts through November.

“Broken Embraces” turns on the competition for the affections of an actress (Cruz) between a Spanish magnate (Jose Luis Gomez) and a film director (Lluis Homar).

This week, Warner Bros. will release “Embraces” in Spain on about 250 prints, a middling print-run strategy that worked well for Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino.”


(Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.)

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