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Figgis' 'Hotel makes room for large ensemble

By Chris Gardner and Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- Director Mike Figgis has brought together an ensemble cast that includes Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu, David Schwimmer, Saffron Burrows, Burt Reynolds, Rhys Ifans and Max Beasley for his latest project, "Hotel."

The "Time Code"-style feature, which uses the same real-time technique, is shooting on location at the Hungarian Palace Hotel in Venice, Italy. It is scheduled to wrap March 11. The 93-minute, split-screen film will feature an ensemble of more than 40 actors.

Other actors on the "Hotel" guest list include Julian Sands, Ornella Muti, Valeria Golino, Chiara Mastroianni, Valentina Cervi, Danny Huston, Mia Maestro, George DiCenzo and Stefania Rocca.

The story follows various escapades going on inside a hotel: a film being shot, an entertainment news crew tracking the film's production, a mysterious surgical operation and a torture chamber in the hotel basement. All this is tied to a murder subplot.

A British-Italian co-production, "Hotel" is being produced by Figgis, Annie Stewart and Etchie Stroh. The latter is president of Moonstone Entertainment.

Moonstone, which worked with Figgis on "Miss Julie," provided the financing for "Hotel," which is budgeted in the neighborhood of $6 million.

Moonstone is representing the film's distribution rights at the American Film Market. Distribution rights on the film have already closed in France to Saggitaire, Germany to MB, Italy to Cattleya, Turkey to UMUT, Brazil to SWEN and in the United Kingdom to Channel 4.

"It's not like anything you've ever seen before -- it's a wild ride," Stroh said, adding that portions of the complex film will be split into four screens, some in two and some with only one screen, depending on the importance of the scene.

A film crew is also lensing short films from the set in Venice, which are being posted online at Figgis' Web site: