John Hurt will take aleading role in Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia'sin-the-works English-language thriller Oxford Murders.

Hurt will play an Oxford University professor embroiled in the investigation of a series of murdersseemingly linked by mathematical symbols. The story is based on anaward-winning novel by the Argentinean writer Guillermo Martinez.

The estimated $7.6m (Euros6m) feature is a production of Spain's Tornasol Films.Co-producers and filming dates in Oxford and London are still under negotiation, according to executiveproducer Mariela Besuievsky.

De la Iglesia,who directed Ferpect Crime and 800 Bullets, wrote the script with his long-time co-writer Jorge Guerricaechevarria. It will mark his second English-languageforay following 1997's Dance With The Devil starring Rosie Perez and Javier Bardem.

Hurt was in Spain over the weekend for a presentation of the upcomingfirst annual Ibiza International Film Festival -- May 29-June 7, 2007 -- for which he will serve as a patron.