New generation of Spanish stars emerges

Silvestre among actors catching eye of twentysomethings

MADRID -- As the ink dries on last week's two-picture deal between Telecinco Cinema and local heartthrob Miguel Angel Silvestre, industry insiders are trumpeting the emergence of a clutch of young Spanish talent with international possibilities.

While largely unknown outside Spain, here, Silvestre is simply "The Duke," in reference to the character he plays in the popular Colombian TV series "Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso." And while not the first local star to make the leap to the big screen, he may represent a new vanguard of marketable and potentially international stars for the Spanish film industry.

"There is a new generation of Spanish stars. They speak English, have traveled, have worked abroad and are ready for the international market," Spanish sales agent Latido's Massimo Saidel said. "They are definitely the group that the next Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas will come from."

Silvestre, Hugo Silva, Oscar Jaenada, Ana de Armas, Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Alejo Sauras are just a few names in the new brat pack.

Silvestre, whose most recent film role, "3:19," has only served to further pique interest in the twentysomething crowd, is set to start shooting the English-language crime drama "Reflections" with director Bryan Goeres and an international cast that includes Timothy Hutton and Dominik Garcia-Lorido.

Jaenada worked with Steven Soderbergh in "Che" and is shooting Jim Jarmusch's thriller "The Limits of Control," while Peris recently finished shooting Taylor Hackford's "Love Ranch."

The international community will get a chance to evaluate how well some of the other up-and-comers can travel in Alfonso Albacete and David Menkes' sex-packed "Mentiras y Gordas," which groups many of Spain's most sought-after under-25 actors in an explicit, envelope-pushing, coming-of-age story. Sony Pictures will release the film in Spain on March 27.

"The idea was to take kids out of their very contained TV images and stereotypes and have them doing more demanding things in keeping with what their age group is supposedly really doing. Like finding their own sexual identity," Saidel said.

Beyond that, Hugo Silva, whose role on the successful cop series "Paco's Men" has generated his own screaming gaggle of fans at festivals and premieres, stars opposite veteran Spanish thespian Carmelo Gomez in the upcoming "Agallas."

"All of the future big names from Spain will come from television," veteran talent agent Jesus Ciordia said. "And there are definitely some that measure up to Bardem, without a doubt. I've seen them and I know what they can do."