PenelopeCruz and Spanish producers Colomo Producciones and Sogecine have optioned therights to popular novel Pasion India.
Cruzis set to take the lead alongside Bollywood co-stars inthe English-languagefilm adaptation, expected to shoot in Spain and India.
JavierMoro's original novel (Indian Passion)was inspired by the true story of Anita Delgado, a 17 year old flamenco dancerfrom Andalusia who scandalized two countries in the early 1900s when she agreedto marry an Indian maharaja and settle in hisnative land.
Moroactually had Cruz in mind when he wrote the story: "He envisioned Anita asPenelope in [Fernando Trueba's 1998 film] The Girl Of Your Dreams," said Beatriz de la Gandara, head of Colomo Producciones and the mainimpulse behind the project.
Aninternational director is sought prior to attaching the writer, and the budgetwill depend on the final package, she said.
"Withouta script it is impossible to know the budget. Our priority is to find the rightdirector and get a great script."
Dela Gandara, who will take executive producer credits with Cruz and Sogecine,also added that while the producers are open to bringing in co-financiers atthis early stage, they also want to control the development of this petproject.
"Wedon't want to make a Disney film, this is not a fairy tale - there isconflict and characters with profundity," she said.
Dela Gandara and director Fernando Colomo, the recipient of a retrospective thisweek at the Spanish Film Festival of Malaga, traveled to New Delhi last monthas part of a contingent attending the first-ever Spanish Film Festival ofIndia.
FernandoLara, current head of the Spanish Film Institute ICAA, was also part of thedelegation attending the event, which could result in a co-production treatybetween Spain and India.
PasionIndia would be the first Spanish feature film to shoot inIndia. The novel is about to be published in English.
"Wewould be lucky to shoot in India, a country with one of the biggest filmindustries," De la Gandara said. "It is also an important market for the filmto be able to premiere."
Cruz presented her newest film, Pedro Almodovar's Volver, last week in Madrid. Sheis about to startshooting in Spainon bullfighter epic Manolete across AdrienBrody.