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Spain tries comic caper ‘Filemon’

Bardem's 'Mortadelo' budgeted at $13.4 million

In the wake of “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” and French smash “Brice de Nice,” Spain has its own entry in the international annals of klutzdom: “Mortadelo & Filemon. Mission: Save the Planet.”

Madrid-based Spanish sales consortium 6 Sales, headed by Marina Fuentes, inked on the cusp of Cannes to handle international rights.

A bigscreen, live-action adaptation of Spain’s hugely popular comic books, first launched in 1958, “Mortadelo” turns on two almost impossibly inept spies, Mortadelo and Filemon. When the rest of the world’s crack special agents are wiped out in a U.N. bomb blast, the two klutzes are charged with the mission of saving the world.

Helmed by Miguel Bardem, “Mortadelo,” which is three weeks into its shoot, marks the entry into pic production of On Pictures, the film distribution and TV production arm of Spanish publishing and media conglom the Zeta Group.

Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 TV production unit Ensueno co-produces.

The heavy f/x demanded by pic’s knock-about, comicbook- inspired humor has prompted a high-end budget for Spain: $13.4 million.

Plowing into an expanding number and range of films, from Spain, Colombia, Israel and U.S. (the Bob and Tom Engelman-produced “Alone With Her”), 6 Sales has tapped Clare Gaunt as sales manager.

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