Gianni Nunnari's LosAngeles-based Hollywood Gang Productions is ramping up on the 16th centurySpanish-language epic Conquistador,set to begin shooting in Brazil and other parts of South America in September2006.

Brazil's Andrucha Waddington(Me You Them, House Of Sand) willdirect the project from a screenplay by Nicholas Kazan translated by historianand writer Carlos Bardem.

Relativity Media's RyanKavanaugh and Lynwood Spinks financed the project, which is believed to bebudgeted at more than $40m range and, the parties claim, will be the biggestSpanish-language project ever produced. Exception Wild Bunch will handleinternational sales.

Nunnari will produce thepicture, with Elliott Lewitt, Nicholas Kazan, Kavanaugh and Spinks serving asexecutive producers. Hollywood Gang's Nathalie Peter-Contesse will oversee asproduction executive.

Conquistador recounts the adventures of the Spanish explorerHernan Cortes as he sets sail from Cuba in 1519 in the hope of expanding theSpanish empire. Much of the story will focus on Cortes' inner struggles as heand his soldiers set about destroying Moctezuma's Aztec kingdom in Mexico.

"Conquistador will be the Apocalypse Now of 16th-century South America," Nunnari said. "It isa character-oriented piece with an international cast that will be uniquelybrought to the screen by Andrucha Waddington's vision and talent."

Nunnari added that theproducers were in discussions to assemble "the biggest cast of the industry'smost significant Spanish-speaking actors."

"Andrucha Waddington is ayoung, passionate and extremely talented Brazilian filmmaker, and we are allexcited about seeing him bring Nick Kazan's script to life," Relativity'sKavanaugh added.

"With the anticipated broadinternational appeal of Conquistador, we also know that Wild Bunch is the ideal sales agent to realise thefilm's universal potential."

Hollywood Gang's vicepresident of business and legal affairs Craig Flores brokered the talent dealswith Waddington and Kazan, and co-brokered the financing deal in tandem withKavanaugh.

Kazan is represented byGeoffrey Sanford of Rabineau Wachter & Sanford, and Waddington isrepresented by Endeavor's Elyse Scherz.