Almodovar project is in ruins


CANNES -- Pedro Almodovar's production company El Deseo announced Wednesday it has started production on a docudrama about the discovery of the tomb of El Senor de Sipan, the ruler of ancient Peru's ruins, after acquiring exclusive audiovisual rights to the archeological dig.

Months after James Cameron's "The Last Tomb of Christ" documentary stirred controversy by claiming it had discovered the bones of Jesus Christ and his family, El Deseo has started preproduction on the feature-length film in co-production with Explora Films.

Documentary specialist Jose Manuel Novoa will direct the film that will combine the dig's discoveries with a re-creation of Sipan's life with elaborate set designs, including a pyramid and costumes.

According to El Deseo, the tale of the man who ruled Peru some 1,700 years ago includes sackings, murders and intrigue "in the purest style of adventure film."

Spanish pubcaster Television Espanola and the Spanish Geographic Society are supporting the project, which boasts a $1 million budget.

Calling it the "the main archeological discovery of the 20th century in America, comparable to the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb," El Deseo said it anticipates news in the coming months that will make headlines worldwide.

Archeologist Walter Alva discovered the tomb some 20 years ago and is heading the dig, which has already unearthed new graves, temples and multicolored facades.