Art director Eugenio Zanetti, who won an Oscar in 1996 for Michael Hoffman's Restoration, is set to make his theatrical directing debut with The Burning Tree, which has Anthony Quinn attached to play one of the leads.
Los Angeles-based production company Esparza-Katz (Selena) will co-produce the project with Astrolabio of Spain and Argentine producers Cuatro Cabezas and Oscar Kramer. Heading the cast of Argentine actors are Norma Leandro (The Official Story, Gabi), Mia Maestro (Flamenco) and Lito Cruz.
Argentine-born Zanetti, who also received an Oscar nod in art direction for Robin Williams vehicle What Dreams May Come, has also written the screenplay for The Burning Tree, loosely based on Jose Luis Parise's novel, El Otro Camino.
Argentine film institute INCAA will put up $700,000 of the below-the-line budget of $6m which is expected to rise once two more leads are in place. Talks are underway with Spain's Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls) and an undisclosed English actor to play other lead parts.
"We're aiming for a crossover movie, with 60% of the dialogue in English and the rest in Spanish," said Zanetti. Principal photography is slated to begin mid April on location in Argentina. Some scenes will be shot in Rome and Rhode Island in the US.
Zanetti directed the world's first internet movie Quantum Project which registered 15 million hits and earned $80m its first two weeks.