Fresh from an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls, Spanish actor Javier Bardem has signed on to star in Fernando Leon's Mondays In The Sun (Los Lunes Al Sol) for producer Elias Querejeta.

The film is Bardem's first new project announced since the role as gay Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas brought him international acclaim and made him Spain's first-ever Oscar-nominated actor. He is pending release as the lead in John Malkovich's directorial debut, Spanish production The Dancers Upstairs.

Sun is set to crank up in Spain this autumn with co-production from MediaPro. Producer Querejeta says he is also in advanced conversations with French and Italian partners.

Few details have been unveiled about Sun, a drama with a budget of $4m co-written by Leon and Ignacio del Moral. Considered one of Spain's most talented young scriptwriters, Leon has directed two previous films including Familia (1996) and the award-winning Barrio (1998).

Querejeta, who backed both of Leon's previous efforts, is one of Spain's most distinguished producers. He is credited with helping launch the careers of directors like Carlos Saura, Victor Erice, Ricardo Franco, Montxo Armendariz and Gracia Querejeta.