Remakes of Latin America’s treasure trove of pics continue to heat up as 3pas Studios, run by Mexican helmer-thesp Eugenio Derbez, above, and former Pantelion production chief Ben Odell, has unveiled plans to make a bilingual version of Argentine hit “Un Cuento Chino.” Pic is set up at Pantelion Films, the Lionsgate-Televisa joint venture where 3pas Studios inked a first-look deal.
Sebastian Borensztein’s original comedy starred Ricardo Darin, Argentina’s biggest star, who toplined foreign-language Oscar winner “The Secret in Their Eyes.” “Un Cuento Chino” (Chinese Take-Out) was among the highest-grossing pics of all time in Argentina. Odell, along with Pampa Films’ Pablo Buscarini and Pablo Bossi, Tornasol’s Gerardo Herrero and Telefe’s Axel Kuschevatzky, produced the comedy.
“Un Cuento Chino” tracks a lost Chinese immigrant and a cantankerous Argentine hardware store owner whose lives become entangled by a tragic incident that involves a cow falling from the sky. In Spanish, referring to a story as a cuento chino is equivalent to calling it a tall tale.
The remake will be set in Los Angeles with Derbez to helm and play the lead. Eduardo Cisneros, a scribe on many of Derbez’s TV shows in Mexico, and co-scribe of Derbez’s breakout hit in the U.S., “Instructions Not Included,” is penning the script.
When Odell was developing the script with Borensztein in 2009, he sent the script to Derbez, who immediately expressed interested in remaking it. “I loved the original story and movie,” Derbez said. “There is a heartfelt relationship that develops between these two very different people set around a whimsical, comical and magical world.”
“Un Cuento Chino” is among the several pics 3pas Studios is developing under its deal with Pantelion. It recently bought an untitled original script about an aging Latin lover from scribes Chris Spain and Jon Zack for Derbez to topline and direct. The shingle is also developing a remake of the 2006 French comedy “The Valet.”
“We are developing multiple projects with an eye to shooting one at the end of 2015,” Odell said.
Derbez is repped by UTA and attorney Howard Abramson. Eduardo Cisneros is repped by Eric Rovner of WME and Carlos Bobadilla of Valor Entertainment.