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Platino Awards: Eugenio Derbez Joins ‘Miracles From Heaven’

Producer-director advances on ‘Un cuento chino,’ ‘Valet,’ remakes, Latin lover comedy

MARBELLA, Spain – Eugenio Derbez has joined Jennifer Garner, Martin Hendersen and Queen Latifah in Sony Pictures’ “Miracles From Heaven,” which will be released via TriStar Pictures.

Featuring two of Mexico’s most successful U.S. Latino market crossovers, “Miracles” is directed by fellow Mexico compatriot Patricia Riggen (“Under the Same Moon,” “The 33”); “Heaven Is for Real” trio of Joe Roth, DeVon Franklin and T.D. Jakes produce.

Written by Randy Brown, adapting Cristy Beam’s same-titled book, the faith-based “Miracles From Heaven” centers on a young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder who is miraculously cured after suffering a terrible accident.

Derbez will play an eminent but simpatico U.S.-based Mexican gastroenterologist-pediatrician, who plays games with his child patients to lighten their experience of hospital treatment, Derbez said in Marbella, Spain, where he will present a prize along with Santiago Segura, “Torrente” franchise writer-director-star, at Saturday’s second Platino Awards.

Derbez’s character is inspired by Boston Children’s Hospital specialist Dr. Samuel Nurko, he said. Derbez joins “Miracles From Heaven” Atlanta shoot next week.

“Miracles From Heaven” reunites Riggen and Derbez, who co-starred in Riggen’s 2008 U.S. breakthrough “Under the Same Moon,” which grossed $12.6 million for the Weinstein Company.

It reps a relatively rare drama outing for Derbez, who has carved out a career in comedy, breaking through with comedy-drama “Instructions Not Included,” the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever in North America, with a $44.5 million box office trawl. It went on to become the biggest Mexican hit ever in Mexico, punching $46.1 million.

A driving force of the Panama City’s 2014 inaugural Platino Awards, where he added many of its major notes of humor — with “Instructions Not Included,” “It’s an honor we swept the box office in the U.S, because we normally sweep the floors,” he joked, when winning best actor — Derbez is currently advancing on three projects at his production label 3pas Studios, which has a first-look deal with Pantelion Films, the Lionsgate-Televisa joint U.S. distribution venture.

“The projects have a lot to do with my personality,” Derbez said.

As first reported by Variety, Derbez is set to direct and star in a remake of Argentine hit “Chinese Take-Out” (“Un cuento chino”), a cross-the-cultural-tracks buddy movie about a cantankerous Argentine hardware store owner and an adrift Chinese immigrant. Derbez regular co-scribe Eduardo Cisneros is writing the screenplay. The Argentine would become an American.

3pas Studios is also developing an English-language remake of 2006 French comedy “Le Valet.” Derbez’s next actor-director gig looks like one of these two projects. “Le Valet” is also at screenplay stage.

A third 3pas Studios project is an Untitled Latin Lover Project, from an original screenplay by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, about an ageing Latin lover suddenly thrown out by his wife and forced to get a real job.

Derbez runs 3pas Studios with former Pantelion Films production chief Ben Odell. Derbez is repped by UTA and attorney Howard Abramson.

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