Salma Hayek's biopic of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo may beat a rival project from Jennifer Lopez to the big screen.
Hayek, who's long been attached to star as the iconic artist for Miramax, is now lining up an impressive set of cast members, including Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, and Edward Norton.
The Hayek starrer may also be close to netting a director. Julie Taymor, whose theatrical staging of The Lion King brought her kudos and a Tony Award, is in negotiations to helm the picture. Taymor made her feature-film directorial debut with last year's violent, visually baroque Shakespearean drama Titus.
The other Frida Kahlo project, in which Lopez is to star, also has some big guns on board, with Luis Valdez (La Bamba) in the director's chair and Francis Ford Coppola producing. No other casting deals have yet been announced for the Lopez-led film (which is being set up at United Artists).
Meanwhile, the Miramax project is also close to finding a leading man. Alfred Molina, of the CBS series Ladies Man, is in talks to take on the role of Kahlo's famous painter husband, Diego Rivera. His participation would depend on his ability to get time off from his TV vehicle.
Latino hunk Banderas, who co-starred with Hayek in Desperado, has agreed to star in the supporting role of David Siqueiros, a painter who was a Rivera rival. Judd will play Tina Modotti, an Italian photographer who was part of Kahlo and Rivera's social circle. Norton, who is Hayek's off-screen partner, will do a cameo as Nelson Rockefeller.
The tycoon commissioned a mural in Rockefeller Center from Rivera, only to remove it when the socially conscious painter refused to paint over an image of Lenin.
If that scene sounds familiar, it's because you just saw it played out in Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock, with John Cusack as Rockefeller and actor-singer Rubén Blades as Rivera.
The Hayek and Lopez projects are similar in that both focus on Kahlo's relationship with Rivera and the duo's place in high society in Mexico, and they are both currently slated to go into production at the same time, according to Variety.