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Hayek inks deal to live 'La Gran Vida' in Spain

December 22, 1999

Salma Hayek has inked to star in the comedy "La Gran Vida" (The Great Life), a low-budget pic from fledgling Spanish production outfit BesoBeso Prods.

This marks the first time the Mexican-born thesp has committed to shooting a movie in Spain. Comedy will also be the feature film debut of local TV helmer Antonio Cuadri and will be budgeted around 700 million peseta ($4.3 million) - a decent budget by local standards.

Cesar Benitez will produce for BesoBeso, a joint venture of his shingle, BocaBoca Prods., and Felipe Ortiz's distrib/exhib house, Tripictures.

In a move typical of European TV-funded co-productions, "Vida" will be co-produced by Spanish private web Tele 5, which will provide 50% of the coin. The web plans to co-fund and roll out another four BesoBeso pics, according to reps.

"We are absolutely thrilled with both the project and having Salma aboard," said Ghislain Barrois, Tele 5's managing director of acquisitions and co-productions. "And as far as Spain is concerned, we'll be able to show what can be done with a network really backing up a film." Pic has no distribution yet.

In the movie, Hayek will play Lola, a Mexican waitress working in Madrid who befriends a 30-year-old suicidal man (Carmelo Gomez, "Vacas"), who has borrowed $1 million to blow on his last day on Earth, knowing he'll be killed anyway if he fails to return the dough. Having met Lola, however, he decides that life may be worth living after all.

Co-scripted by hot young Spanish director Fernando Leon ("Barrio") and Carlos Asorey from an original idea by Cuadri and Alex Garcia Ortell, pic will lense in Madrid for nine weeks, starting Jan. 27.

The Hollywood-based Hayek has said earlier she'd be interested in working with the Spanish film industry if the right script came along.