Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, two of the directors of the Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita (2010), are teaming up to direct They Shot the Piano Player, another animated musical feature. The film promises to do for bossa nova what their last work did for Cuban jazz.

They Shot the Piano Player centers on a journalist from New York who sets out to investigate the story of “Tenório Jr,” a Brazilian piano prodigy who has vanished. The story appears to be inspired by the disappearance in 1976 of pianist Francisco Tenório Júnior. Jeff Goldblum is attached to voice the journalist.

The feature, currently in pre-production, is being financed by Film Constellation, a production, financing, and sales company based in London, U.K. This is its first animated project.

The company describes They Shot the Piano Player as “a celebratory origin story” of the bossa nova movement that “captures a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the 1960s and 1970s, just before the continent was engulfed by totalitarian regimes.” The film will feature the music of Brazilian icons like João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Vinicius de Moraes, and Paulo Moura.

Trueba is a Spanish film director and music producer. His 1992 live-action film Belle Epoque won the Oscar for best foreign language film, and he’s bagged two Grammys for his albums of Latin music. Mariscal, also from Spain, is a well-established painter and designer. Chico & Rita was the first film they made together.

They Shot the Piano Player is produced by Cristina Huete of Spain’s Trueba PC (Chico & Rita) and Valérie Schermann of France’s Prima Linea (The Red Turtle). The executive producers are Nano Arrieta and Film Constellation’s Fabien Westerhoff. It was Westerhoff who handled sales for Chico & Rita while working for another company, Hanway Films.

He said of They Shot the Piano Player: “Fernando’s unique access to the best of Latin jazz musicians, and Javier’s iconic drawings make for a formidable musical journey, exploring the grace and tragedy that make us human, and connecting people worldwide.”

(Image at top courtesy of Trueba PC and Mariscal Studios.)

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