Amores Perros star Goya Toledo has joined the cast of Il Giorno della Civetta, the Italian-Spanish remake of Groundhog Day, which starts shooting in the Canary Islands on Wednesday.

Toledo will feature alongside popular local comedian Antonio Albanese, who will star in the lead role played by Bill Murray in the 1993 original. The cast is rounded out by Fabio de Luigi, and Spanish actors, Beatriz Rico, Ester Ortega and Pepon Nieto.

Rome powerhouse Cattleya is co-producing the Italian-language picture with Spain's Edmundo Gil of Flamenco Films, with backing from Estudios Picasso, the theatrical arm of Telecinco. But the picture is just the latest in a series of projects that Cattleya has recently lined up with Spanish partners.

These include Gabriele Salvatores's Berlin hit I'm Not Scared, which Cattleya co-produced with local outfit Colorado and Spain's Alquimia; Alquimia also boarded Franco Zeffirelli's recent Callas Forever, and Sergio Castellitto's upcoming Non Ti Muovere; while Flamenco Films and Estudios Picasso are co-producing Cha Cha Cha, Cattleya's upcoming remake of Alejandro Del Real's 1997 movie.

Cattleya's Marco Chimenz says there are three main reasons why Spain is currently a particularly attractive partner for his company.

'We have similar taste with respect to the material [Spain and Italy] like, and there are some very good Spanish actors who are keen to work on international films,' Chimenz says.

'But importantly,' he adds, 'there is also a new subsidy system for in Spain for local films and co-productions, which makes it a very interesting partner'.

Spanish state subsidies may be less economically significant than Italian government subsidies, but 'they are less uncertain,' explains Chimenz.

'The economic situation is difficult in Spain, but they do have a very interesting film financing system. They have four TV groups, merging pay-TV platforms, and a lively theatrical market. It is quite a dynamic market,' he says.

Meanwhile, Cattleya continues to ramp up its production slate.

The company is currently lining up new films to be directed by two of Italy's most critically acclaimed actors: Michele Placido and Sergio Castellitto.

Michele Placido, whose last movie, A Voyage Called Love, was one of last year's top box office hits in Italy, is set to start shooting a sentimental drama tentatively titled Per Sempre (Forever) next October. And Castellitto is preparing Non Ti Muovere, a Euros 5m drama co-produced by Spain's Alquimia, and Italy's Medusa, adapted from the best-selling novel written by the actor's wife, Margaret Mazzantini.

Other Cattleya projects include a romantic screen adaptation to be directed by Lucio Pellegrini. Negotiations are underway for hot Italian actor Stefano Accorsi (The Last Kiss) to star.

The Rome outfit is also in talks with emerging Italian actor Luigi Lo Cascio (La Meglio Gioventu, Hundred Steps) to star in a new thriller that will be directed by Eros Puglielli.