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Morena, Get in the Pictures Team for Paula Ortiz’s English-Language Debut ‘Bluebeard’ (EXCLUSIVE)

‘Bluebeard’ marks Ortiz’s follow-up to breakout Lorca adaptation ‘The Bride’

Bluebeard
Courtesy of Paula Ortiz

SAN SEBASTIAN — Spanish box office champ Morena Films, director Paula Ortiz and Get in the Pictures are joining forces for “Bluebeard,” Ortiz’s follow-up to “The Bride,” Spanish cinema’s biggest breakout hit of the last year.

“Bluebeard” will star an international cast, marking Ortiz’s English-language debut and a big step-up in scale for the still young Spanish director.

“We will look for actors with an iconic dimension who are, however, capable of projecting strong psychological aspects,” said Ortiz.

The producer of Oliver Stone’s Fidel Castro docu trilogy, Morena Films’ Alvaro Longoria will produce with producer-distributor Alex Lafuente at Get in the Pictures, which produced “The Bride.”

Written by Ortiz and with a first draft screenplay, “Bluebeard” also looks set to make use if dramatic landscape, one of the key artistic coups of “The Bride” which was shot in Turkey’s stark white Capadoccio desert. “A fable on love and female revolution,” Ortiz said at the San Sebastian Festival, “Bluebeard” will recast the folk-tale which Ortiz described as the story of man who enamours women because he wants to capture their magic, which he lacks.”

In “Bluebeard,” a “new, contemporary and feminine” take, Bluebeard’s last wife escapes.

“This is a story about how Bluebeards tell you you can have everything you want but you can’t open that door or you’ll find other women whose heads he’s cut off,” Ortiz said.

Rather than a Medieval setting, ‘Bluebeard” will be set in an “abstract time” on a island, featuring Bluebeard’s house and his lands. The producers are toying with the idea of shooting in the Canary Islands’ Lanzarote whose dramatic volcanic landscapes “have fable elements in their aesthetics, colors and names,” said Ortiz, and would act as an extension of Bluebeard’s personality.

“Everybody knows the Bluebeard story,” Longoria said. ‘We think this story can have an international audience, transcend the Spanish market,” he added.

Acquired for the U.S. market by Todo Cine Latino, the speciality label of Paul Hudson’s Outsider Pictures, Ortiz’s sophomore film, “The Bride” is a free adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s classic stage play “Blood Wedding,” written by the poet, whose homosexuality was not even accepted by friends such as Luis Buñuel, as he battled to present what he could regard as a tenable position on the inevitability of desire. It is co-produced by Germany’s Cine Chromatix.

Betta Pictures, which Lafuente also helps manage, launched “The Bride” in Spanish theaters in December, snagging $1.13 million in box office., a creditable trawl for a movie by a then little-known filmmaker whose has left to fame by scoring 1 Spanish Academy Goya award nominations and being shortlisted to come Spain’s best foreign-language entry for the Academy Awards.

The announcement of “Bluebeard” comes just days after eOne’s Seville Intl. took international rights to ‘Advantages of Travelling by Train,’ produced by San Sebastian’s Señor y Señora and Morena Films. Morena is looking ever more to leverage its scale, contacts and bankability – it produced three of the 11 highest-grossing Spanish releases of 2016 – to allow projects from on-the-rise directors from smaller production houses to scale up in production budgets on artistically more ambitious movies.