Spanish producers join ‘Family’

Impala, Anola, Aguamarga, prep Puzo pic

A combo of Spanish production companies has taken out an 18-month option on Mario Puzo bestseller “The Family,” with David Giler (“Alien” franchise screenwriter-producer) attached to write the script of the English-lingo movie, provisionally titled “The Borgias.”

Budget is estimated at $29 million.

The Spanish shingles moving the project are Impala, owned by well-known producer Jose Vicuna; Jose Luis Olaizola’s Anola; and Producciones Aguamarga, the banner of vet Spanish helmer Luis Berlanga.

The Puzo novel turns on the scandals, murders, incest, betrayal and power plays of the Italian clan that controlled Italo and Vatican politics from the 14th to 16th century.

Option has cost o100,000 ($117,000) against ($877,000), plus 5% of gross returns on the finished film.

Doing homework

Giler is writing the first draft of the adaptation. “There’s still a lot of research to do. When the first draft is complete, we’ll start the casting process,” he says.

Cast would mix international name thesps and Spanish actors.

Giler also may take a production credit on the pic. He tells Daily Variety that he has initiated talks with Walter Hillto direct the pic.

“The Family” project reps one way in which Spanish production companies hope to attract international shoots to Spain’s giant $316 million Ciudad de la Luz studio complex, being built on the southeast coast of the country.

Homegrown support

Vicuna, Olaizola and Berlanga are helping to promote the studio in Spain and abroad. Designed by Gary Bastien, it will open its first facilities — six soundstages — in January. According to local producers, shooting in Spain is 25% cheaper than in the U.K., France or Italy.

“Borgias” would be the Ciudad de la Luz’s first international movie, Olaizola said. Pic could roll in mid-2005.

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