Principal photography gets underway today (Friday) in Madrid, on The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, a Spanish-French-UK co-production being sold internationally by Senator International.

The film's star-studded cast is headlined by Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Kathy Bates. Irish director Mary McGuckian (This Is The Sea) wrote the screenplay and will direct.

Shooting will take place in historical locations in Madrid, Segovia and Cuenca before moving to Malaga and environs in late April. Bridge is produced by Garrett McGuckian and Mary McGuckian of the UK's Pembridge Pictures, Denise O'Dell of Spain's Kanzaman and Samuel Hadida of France's Davis Films.

The film is co-produced by Michael Lionella Cowan of The Spice Factory and Jason Piette of Movision with executive producers Howard Kanzanjian and Craig Darian. Kanzaman will distribute in Spain and Hadida's Metropolitan Film Export in France.

The cast also includes F Murray Abraham, Spanish up-and-comer Pilar Lopez de Ayala, Gabriel Byrne, Mark and Michael Polish, Geraldine Chaplin, Emile Dequenne and Jim Sheridan.

DP Javier Aguirresarobe (The Others, Talk To Her), production designer Gil Parrondo (Nicholas and Alexandra, Patton), costume designer Yvonne Blake (Nicholas And Alexandra, Superman) and editors Kant Pan (The Crying Game, LD50) and Sylvie Landra (The Fifth Element, Leon) are among the crew.

The story, set in 18th century Peru, is based on a 1927 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by American writer Thornton Wilder about the quest for reason behind the mysterious collapse of a bridge which caused the deaths of five people.

Bridge will be released internationally in early 2004.