Garcia's 'Mother' has cha cha cha partners


Rodrigo Garcia is ready to tango with his three amigos for the ensemble drama "Mother and Child."

Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will produce the writer-director's next feature for their Focus Features International-funded outfit cha cha cha.

The $4.5 million project, produced with Mockingbird Pictures president Julie Lynn, follows the intersecting lives of a 50-year-old woman, the daughter she gave up for adoption 35 years ago and a black woman looking to adopt a baby.

Set to begin a Los Angeles shoot in late December or January, the film continues Garcia's examination of female characters found in his dramas "Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her" and "Nine Lives."

"Alejandro read a nearly finished draft and challenged me to finish it," said Garcia, who has been working on the script for more than seven years. "It all takes place in the present, but it was difficult to write because it explores 30 years in the lives of these three women." Casting for the leads is under way.

Garcia credits his cha cha cha friends — one of whom, Inarritu, executive produced "Lives" — for getting the film off the ground at a time when "hard-nosed realistic dramas" are having a tough time getting financed. "If it wasn't for those three guys, I'm sure I'd still be shopping it around with extremely little luck," he said.

Garcia is about to make his big-studio debut at Sony with this month's supernatural thriller "Passengers," starring Anne Hathaway, produced by Lynn with Mandate Pictures and Persistent Entertainment. Cha cha cha's first film out of the gate will be Carlos Cuaron's soccer drama "Rudo y Cursi," starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. (partialdiff)