Greek filmmaker Yiannis Smaragdis recently presented his seven-year dream of creating a film based on the life of distinguished Greek artist Domenicos Theotokopoulos, also known as El Greco. At a recent press conference, Smaradgis pointed out that the film «El Greco» will be more than a standard biopic. «It is the epic story of a Greek artist who refused to compromise, a fighter for freedom. It is a journey of light which tries to transcend the darkness of its times and reach the realm of the divine,» says the director. A young British actor, Nick Ashdon, who has no previous film experience, will play the title role, while the script, based on a story by Dimitris Nollas and Panayiotis Paschidis (from Dimitris Siatopoulos’s book «The Artist of God»), bears the signatures of Britain’s Jackie Pavlenko and Smaragdis. The filming of the joint Greek, Spanish, Italian and British production will kick off next fall and will take place in Crete, Venice, Spain and in Athens. The budget has not yet been made public, but according to Smaragdis it is significantly larger than the usual Greek film budget. Cast of Greek stars Lakis Lazopoulos will play the supporting role of the shepherd Nikolos, whom Smaragdis described as «a character who plays the role of the country’s conscience, a reflection of its spirit.» Lazopoulos describes «El Greco» as a film that «brings out a centuries-old story that sheds light on Greece.» Other participating actors will be Sotiris Moustakas, Dina Consta, Yiannis Bezos, Dimitris Kataleifos, Christos Kalavrouzos, Eleni Kastani, Tassos Palatzidis and Dimitra Matsouka. Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno will also take part, while the names of the Spanish cast will be announced soon. The music is to be written by Oscar-winner Vangelis Papathanassiou, who was also the one to come up with the idea of making a film about Theotokopoulos, according to Smaragdis. «It was his idea, as well as some Cretan businessmen’s who provided the initial funding to begin production.» It should be noted that apart from the usual sponsors (the Greek Film Center, ERT Greek Radio & Television and Nova), three Cretan municipalities – those of Iraklion, Gazi and Hersonissos – will also be backing the project financially.