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Alejandro Amenábar’s Miguel de Cervantes Origin Story ‘The Captive’ to Be Launched at European Film Market by Film Constellation (EXCLUSIVE)

Principal photography is set to begin in April on “The Captive” (“El Cautivo”), the period adventure epic from Alejandro Amenábar, whose “The Sea Inside” won an Oscar for best foreign language film. Film Constellation has boarded worldwide sales, and will introduce the project to buyers at the European Film Market.

The film centers on the origin story of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the iconic novel “Don Quixote.” At the age of 28, Cervantes was taken captive by the Moors in Algiers, leading to his creative birth.

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The $15 million production will shoot at locations in Spain including Valencia, Alicante and Seville.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is on board to release the film in Spain next year.

The film is set in Algiers in 1575 when Cervantes, a wounded 28-year-old Spanish Navy soldier, is held prisoner by Ottoman corsairs. Faced with a ticking clock, a cruel death awaits him should his fellow countrymen fail to pay his ransom soon; but within the confines of his cell, Cervantes discovers a surprising refuge — the art of storytelling.

“Crafted from resilience and hope, his stories enthrall his fellow captives and capture the attention of Hasan, the enigmatic and feared Bey of Algiers, igniting a secret affinity between captor and captive,” the film’s description reads. “Suspicions rise amidst growing tensions in the city, and Cervantes, driven by an unwavering sense of optimism, devises a daring plan for freedom.”

Julio Peña (“Berlin,” “Through My Window”) will star alongside Alessandro Borghi (“The Eight Mountains,” “Supersex”), with cinematography by Alex Catalán (“Loving Pablo,” “While at War”), production design by Juan Pedro de Gaspar (“También la lluvia,” “The Queen of Spain”), costume design by Nicoletta Taranta (“A Chiara,” “Rose Island”), editing by Carolina Martínez (“La Fortuna”), visual effects by Ana Rubio (“The Beasts,” “Elite”) and music by Amenábar.

Amenábar, whose credits include “Open Your Eyes” and “The Others,” said: “In this film, as I have done in my previous ones, I will play with contrasts: between the dark reality Miguel de Cervantes was living and the power of fabulation, between the epic escape attempts and the miseries of captivity, and between the cruelty of his captors and the paradise of the hammam and the joy in the streets of Algiers. Miguel de Cervantes experienced all of it, and that is precisely what conditioned the humanism and complexity of his work. It is known that he was already writing at the time, and one of his narratives in ‘Don Quixote,’ called precisely ‘The Captive,’ contains numerous autobiographical references. Miguel de Cervantes left a great story untold: his own. It’s time we heard it.”

Producer Fernando Bovaira said, “It’s a pleasure to have Film Constellation and its team handling world sales on Alejandro Amenábar’s ‘The Captive.’ We appreciate their selective approach and the individual care given to each project and we are certain this will be a very successful collaboration.”

Fabien Westerhoff of Film Constellation added: “Alejandro Amenábar’s thrilling ability to dive into a character’s mind and psychology is unparalleled. Seeing the world from the eyes of one of the world’s most iconic literary geniuses at the crossroads of two civilizations, will be a treat for audiences worldwide.”

The film is produced by Bovaira at Mod Producciones (“The Others,” “The Summit,” “While at War,” “Biutiful”), Himenóptero (“Regression,” “The Sea Inside”) and Misent Producciones in a co-production with Propaganda Italia (“Monica,” “Piove”) with the participation of Netflix and TVE and the support of ICAA, Generalitat Valenciana and Eurimages.

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