PARIS — Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who just won two awards at Cannes for his Tehran-set drama “The Salesman” (Forushande), is resetting his untitled Spanish-language movie with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in advanced talks to star.
Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s Madrid-based El Deseo and Alexandre Mallet-Guy’s Memento Films are on board to produce the project, which is currently in development.
The project was born of Cruz and Farhadi’s mutual wish to work together, explained Mallet-Guy, who produced Farhadi’s last two movies, “The Past” and “The Salesman,” which just won awards for best screenplay and best actor (Shahab Hosseini) at Cannes.
Farhadi is currently finishing the original screenplay and will visit Spain next month to scout for locations that could feed into the script. Shooting is expected to begin summer or early fall next year.
The plot, which, as always with Farhadi’s films, remains mostly under wraps, revolves around a family of winemakers living in rural Spain.
“It’s a psychological thriller with a dash of Agatha Christie in it. The script is a real page-turner,” Mallet-Guy told Variety. The producer also said the project will weave in some moral themes as in Asghar’s previous films.
Agustin Almodovar, meanwhile, said “the film could offer cultural and industrial crossover which would be highly valuable in the current times.”
“We admire very much Asghar Farhadi’s films, and have a host of similarities and common interests, speaking in film terms. In the past, where there’s been an affinity with such great artists as Guillermo del Toro, that affinity has ended up generating a project in common,” Agustin Almodovar added, referring to 2001’s “The Devil’s Backbone,” also produced by El Deseo.
Farhadi had initially planned to shoot this Spanish film last October but said he felt “nostalgic” for Iran and opted to shoot “The Salesman” instead. Mallet-Guy said scheduling conflicts were also among the reasons for the change of plan. An American actor will complete the cast.
Although Farhadi doesn’t speak Spanish, he’s proven with “The Past” that he could pull off making a film in a language foreign to him. Indeed, “The Past” competed at Cannes, earned its star Berenice Bejo the award for best actress and went on to nab a Golden Globe nomination. “He has a wonderful intuition and a talent for listening to the music of words,” said Mallet-Guy.
Farhadi won the foreign-language Oscar and a Golden Globe for “A Separation” in 2012.