Oberon, Alebrije Link for ‘The Chosen’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Thriller turns on extraordinary chain of mischance and treachery encircling Trotsky’s assassin, Ramon Mercader

Antonio Chavarrias
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

GUADALAJARA –Director-producer Antonio Chavarrias (“Dictation,” “Celia’s Lives”) will direct true-event thriller “The Chosen,” which is set up at Chavarrias’ Barcelona-based Oberon Cinematografica and Monica Lozano’s Mexico City-based Alebrije Films, the producer of “Instructions Not Included.”

Pubcaster RTVE has pre-bought Spanish free-to-air rights.

Written by Chavarrias, “The Chosen” turns on the incredible but true story of the Barcelona-born Ramon Mercader, and his chance involvement in the assassination of Trotsky.

The producers aim to close a third, European partner to complete financing, Chavarrias said.

Shooting almost totally in English – adopting double false identities, Mercader pretended he didn’t speak Spanish – “The Chosen” will feature four central roles: Mercader, his New York-born lover, Sylvia, Trotsky and the investigating Mexican police man, Salazar, Chavarrias said. Sylvia and Trotsky will be U.S. or English-speaking thesps, per Chavarrias.

“Without adding any element, the film is an intense thriller with a compelling personal story of a man who was introduced into the Stalinist GPU – the forerunner of Russia’s KGB – by his own mother,” Chavarrias said.

Given a false identity in Russia as a Canadian millionaire, Jacques Mornard, which he maintained for 20 years, Mercader enamors one of Trotsky’s secretaries in Paris – an American girl from Brooklyn – and, after two years living with her, begins to infiltrate Trotsky’s inner circle in Mexico.

“The Chosen” begins in 1937, when Mercader, a 24-year-old idealist, is fighting Franco’s troops in the trenches during the Spanish Civil War. It concludes in 1940, just after Trotsky’s murder.

“The story is made even more fascinating in that Mercader wasn’t sent to kill Trotsky. But an attack on Trotsky by 20 armed men failed. Mercader, an infiltrator, suddenly has to become Trotsky’s murderer,” Chavarrias explained.

“This is a film about betrayal, betrayal of true feelings, ideas, in the name of loyalty to a political party and ideology which, born to liberate mankind, finally become dogma which destroyed real ideas and freedom.”

“The Chosen” also talks about the role of chance in history, “a chain of coincidences,” in Chavarrias’ words, “that means that the highly improbable finally happened.”