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Iglesias tunes up prod’n

Enrique Iglesias, who will join Barbra Streisand and Boyz 2 Men in serenading Al Gore after he accepts the nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention tonight, is out to start his own global film and TV production company.

The 25-year-old son of Julio Iglesias intends to establish himself as a brand name in Hollywood, and to use his clout to make Latino-themed projects that are languishing despite the recent musical successes of himself and artists like Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez.

Iglesias’s first foray as a producer comes as he teams with Dasha Epstein (“Ain’t Misbehavin’ “) to mount the musical “4 Guys Named Jose … And Una Mujer Named Maria.” The musical, a collection of Latino songs and dancing, has just been set Off Broadway at the Blue Angel Theatre for a fall run starting Sept. 18 and will lead to an annual concept album that will feature Top 40 stars singing classic Latino tunes. Iglesias now records on Interscope and is negotiating for his own label, which should be in place for the first album.

Iglesias comes to the venture after becoming the world’s top-selling Spanish-language singer, with 13 consecutive No. 1 singles and album sales in excess of 18 million.

The film and television production component will be facilitated initially through his management company the Firm, which did the same for Ice Cube and Martin Lawrence. Through it, Iglesias will develop projects to star in but will also nuture Latino-themed films in hopes of replicating the crossover success that Latin music has experienced. Internet ventures and investment in theaters in Hispanic areas are also on the drawing board, much the way Magic Johnson has done in African-American neighborhoods.

LATINO THEMED-“EXHALE”?: Sensing the opportunity to fill a void of Latino-themed projects, producers Harry and Mary Jane Ufland have made a deal with Alcon Entertainment to turn the C.C. Medina novel “A Little Love” into a feature designed to be a “Waiting to Exhale” for the Latino market. Just published by Warner Books, the novel was written by the husband-and-wife team of Carlos and Carolina Medina and acquired by Alcon partners Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson in a six-figure deal. It revolves around the lives of four Latina women, each with different problems dealing with men, wealth and commitment, all set in the romantic and musical backdrop of Miami. The hope is to hook the top Latina actresses to topline the ensemble, which Alcon will finance.

The Uflands are now in production with the John Stockwell-directed Disney pic “At Seventeen,” which they are producing with Rachel Pfeffer. They are also close with “I Was Amelia Earhart” at Fine Line, with Fred Schepisi directing and Julianne Moore starring, and have “Sopranos” scribe Jason Cahill adapting “Tokyo Underworld” with Nick Pileggi at DreamWorks as a possible directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese.

Book was repped by Endeavor and Miami-based lit agent Janell Agyeman of Marie Brown Associates.

FROM WELLES TO STAGE: Liev Schreiber, who’s Emmy nominated for his portrayal of Orson Welles in “RKO 281,” is signing to star on Broadway in “Betrayal,” the Harold Pinter play that will be directed by David Leveaux, who won a Tony for “The Real Thing.” The play’s an autobiographical effort by Pinter that examines the surprise attraction and then romance between a woman and her husband’s best friend. Schreiber will play the best friend, and top stars such as Alec Baldwin are being courted to join when the play opens at the American Airlines Theatre in October. Schreiber, who just wrapped the indie “Dial Nine,” is repped by William Morris and Industry Entertainment.

CASTINGS: Soccer player Vinnie Jones, one of the most famous athletes in England because of his thuggery, is muscling in on macho movie roles. Jones is set to star with John Travolta and Hugh Jackman in the Warner Bros. drama “Swordfish,” and is in talks to star in “Mean Machine,” a pic about a prison soccer team that’s being produced by Guy Ritchie. Ritchie gave Jones his acting start in “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” and the upcoming “Snatch” with Brad Pitt and Jason Statham. Jones also co-starred in “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Not surprisingly, he’ll join Travolta as a villain in “Swordfish.” Jones is repped by ICM’s Nick Styne and attorneys Jake Bloom and David Weber … Henry Thomas has signed to join Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Gangs of New York,” with director Martin Scorsese poised to begin production in Rome in September. Thomas will play Johnny Sirocco, the best friend of Amsterdam Vallon (DiCaprio), the young man who tries to unite Gotham’s ethnic gangs. He’ll next be seen starring with Matt Damon in the Billy Bob Thornton-directed “All the Pretty Horses,” the co-production between Columbia and Miramax, which will be released by the latter. He has also starred in three independent films: the Sergei Bodrov-directed “The Quickie,” the Zev Berman-directed “Briar Patch” and the Gustavo Lipsztein-directed “Dead in the Water.” Thomas is repped by ICM and attorney Stuart Rosenthal … Emily Mortimer beat out several young actresses to join Catherine Keener and Brenda Blethyn in the upcoming Good Machine pic to be directed by Nicole Holofcener (“Walking and Talking”). Mortimer, who’s repped by ICM and London agent Harriet Robinson, recently completed “The Sleeping Dictionary.”

WATER” COLOR FOR ABC: ABC and Robert Greenwald will give telepic treatment to the James McBride bestseller “The Color of Water.” The pic, which will be co-exec produced with Sanford/Pillsbury Prods., is the memoir of a black man raised by a Jewish mother as one of 12 children. The book, which spent 92 weeks on the bestseller lists in 1994, covers their relationship through the racist ’50s and radical ’60s. The book was sold by Sterling Lord’s Jody Hotchkiss and Flip Brophy.

DISHINGS: While President Clinton proved this week that Hollywood is definitely still his town in his swan song appearances during the Democratic National Convention, attendees of last Saturday night’s star-studded event for Clinton and his wife Hillary had some squirming in their seats. Given the president’s problems with fidelity and the toll it took on the First Lady, some thought it a bit surreal when Michael Bolton crooned a soulful rendition of “When a Man Loves a Woman” to the Clintons.

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