Almodovar’s next prod’n in GMI’s hands

Helmer's drama focuses on impossible love

CANNES — Good Machine Intl. will handle worldwide sales, outside of select Euro territories, on one of the hottest upcoming pics from Europe, Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” (Hable con ella).

The deal on the film, a Spanish-lingo romantic drama turning on impossible love, is thought to exclude Spain and a couple of other key territories in Europe on which Almodovar and his brother and producer, Agustin Almodovar, are closing pre-sales.

Currently in pre-production, “Talk” is budgeted at around $5 million.

It reportedly was pursued by a brace of wannabe international distribbers.

But GMI has carved out a reputation for handling upscale, offbeat auteurs with commercial appeal — such as Ang Lee, Joel and Ethan Coen and Todd Solondz. The Coens’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There” and Solondz’s “Storytelling” play in competition and Un Certain Regard, respectively, at this year’s Cannes.

GMI has a recent sales association with the Almodovars, having been brought in by Mexico’s Anhelo Prods. to sell Latin American rights on Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone.” The Almodovars’ Madrid-based production shingle El Deseo co-produced “Backbone” with Tequila Gang, in association with Anhelo and Spain’s Sogepaq.

“GMI’s catalog reflects to a great extent the spirit of the kind of films that Pedro Almodovar makes: daring, auteur-driven films with a clear commercial potential. I feel we’ll fit very comfortably in the company,” said Agustin Almodovar.

“Wow!” said GMI prexy David Linde. “It is just impossible to express how excited we are to have a chance to work with Pedro and everyone at El Deseo.”

El Deseo currently is in talks with key cast, aiming for a mid to late June shoot.

Frontrunners to topline the film reportedly are Spanish singer Rosario Flores and Spanish actress Leonor Watling.

Argentine actor Dario Grandetti and Spanish thesp Javier Camara are being tipped for key male roles.

Almodovar’s last pic, the Academy Award winner “All About My Mother,” was financed via a co-production between El Deseo and Claude Berri’s Renn Prods. Sales subsequently were handled by the now-defunct United Artists Films.

“Talk” will be financed totally by select pre-sales and sales. “All About My Mother” grossed some $65 million-$70 million worldwide.

Pedro and Agustin Almodovar and GMI prexy David Linde negotiated the sales agreement along with Michel Ruben, associate producer at El Deseo, and Amy Kaufman, GMI’s senior VP of acquisitions/co-production.

(Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report.)

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