Up-and-coming Spanish director Mariano Barroso has reportedly been signed on by MGM and Showtime to shoot his first English-language film, In The Time Of The Butterflies, with actress Salma Hayek in the lead.

Showtime and MGM are co-producing the $10m project, which is scheduled to start production in Mexico in September. Hayek will also executive produce.

Based on writer Julia Alvarez's second novel after the acclaimed How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Butterflies is a fictionalised tale about four real sisters, the Mirabals, who lived in the Dominican Republic under dictator Trujillo. The narrator, Hayek's role, is the only sister who survived the dictatorship.

Barroso recently completed shooting on his fourth film, Casbah, starring Ernesto Alterio. His previous efforts include Javier Bardem-starrers The Wolves Of Washington (1999) and Extasy (1996), and Mi Hermano De Alma (1994).