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Gael Garcia Bernal to Star in Alonso Ruizpalacios’ ‘Museum’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Anant Singh, Brian Cox of Distant Horizon executive produce

Gael Garcia Bernal is toplining Alonso Ruizpalacios’ second feature, “Museum” (“Museo”).

Not unlike Ruizpalacios’ breakout hit, “Gueros,” “Museo” is a coming-of-age story, this time within a heist-road movie based on real events in the ‘80s. “Museo” recounts the circumstances behind the theft of pre-Hispanic artifacts from Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology and the shocking discovery that the thieves turned out to be two young men from the suburbs, instead of what was assumed to be the work of an international ring of art thieves.

On board as executive producers are Garcia Bernal, Anant Singh and Brian Cox of Distant Horizon and Moises Cosio of Detalle Films. Distant Horizon will handle international sales.

“We established a relationship with Distant Horizon when we collaborated on Ralph Ziman’s “Kite,” Atom Egoyan’s “Remember” and “Un padre no tan padre,” said producer Gerardo Gatica of Panorama Global who estimates that the film will end up costing less than $5 million, but with a higher-than-average budget for a Mexican film.

“Our talks with Gael, who’s an old friend of Alonso’s, began two-and-a-half years ago, but we had to adjust to his schedule,” said Gatica whose co-producers include “Gueros” producer Ramiro Ruiz, Panorama partner Alberto Muffelmann and co-scribe Manuel Alcala whose research on the project began some 10 years ago.

Garcia Bernal and Leonardo Ortizgris (“Gueros”) play the two aimless, misguided young men whose heist made international headlines.

““Museum” is not a faithful reconstruction of the event, in fact I’ve changed the real characters’ names,” said Ruizpalacios, who is currently in production on the drama.

He added: “I was inspired by the story to make an allegory for young people’s search for identity and meaning in their lives,” he said, a theme he also explored in “Gueros.” The rest of the cast includes Lisa Owen, Simon Russel Beale, Leticia Bredice, Ilse Salas (“Gueros”), Bernardo Velasco and Chile’s Alfredo Castro (“No,” “From Afar”).

“My co-writer Alcala and I were very inspired by ‘Badlands’ where Terrence Malick took a true story and made it his own,” said Ruizpalacios. He has rounded up his loyal “Gueros” team for his sophomore pic, including DP Damian Garcia who is using 35 mm film to lend a closer approximation of the ‘80s.

“‘Badlands’ and Nicolas Roeg’s ‘Walkabout’ are important visual references for us,” said Garcia. “Gueros” editor Yibran Asuad and production designer Sandra Cabriada have also joined the “Museum” team.

“Museum” is being shot on location in Mexico City, Palenque and Acapulco, as well as Churubusco Studios where they recreated the interior of the Museum of Anthropology.

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