Spain's City of Light studio complex has optioned the rights to Mario Puzo's last novel, The Family, with plans to film the Euros 25m feature on-site in 2005.
US scriptwriter David Giler (Aliens 3) will adapt the epic tale about the powerful 15th century Borgia family whose influence under Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, transformed Renaissance Italy. A director is not yet attached.
A completed script is anticipated for the end of 2004, when the Euros 100,000 option on the novel expires. The rights to the novel are valued at Euros 750,000 plus 5% of the film's grosses for the Puzo estate.
Anola Films' Jose Luis Olaizola is co-producing the film with Producciones Aguamarga's Luis Garcia Berlanga and Impala's Jose Vicuna, all three of whom are involved in the City of Light complex.
Another Borgia-based feature, to have been directed by Neil Jordan and starring Ewan McGregor, stalled last year as pre-sales to independent distributors were hit by the European pay-TV crisis. After the production switched from sales agents Myriad Pictures to Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group, delays meant that McGregor had to pull out, although he was at the time understood to remain committed to the project.
Set for a 2004 opening, the City of Light will feature 800,000-square meters housing nine fully-equipped sound stages with annexed buildings for auxiliary services and storage, as well as state-of-the-art post-production facilities and screening rooms. Another 450,000-square meter back-lot will be reserved for outdoor shoots, spreading to the nearby Mediterranean beach.