Actor Benicio del Toro to portray Argentine revolutionary icon Che Guevara

Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro will portray Argentine revolutionary icon Che Guevara in a movie to be shot in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz at the beginning of next year, a government official said Tuesday. To be titled "Guerrilla," the film will be a biography of Guevara, who played a key role in the victory of Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba, said Ricardo Rodriguez Demenegui, head of cinematography for the regional tourism board based in the central Veracruz city of Orizaba.

Guevara was captured and killed by the Bolivian military in 1967. The film's producers, whom Rodriguez did not identify, chose the traditional colonial center of the city of Cordoba and the mountainous region of Zongolica because of their "similarity to regions in Bolivia and Cuba," Rodriguez said.

Filming is expected to begin in March 2006 and be completed in about 90 days, Rodriguez said.

Del Toro won a best-supporting-actor Oscar for his role in the movie "Traffic" in 2001. His other recent movies include "Sin City" and "21 Grams."

Last year, actor-director Robert Redford produced "The Motorcycle Diaries," the tale of Guevara's life-changing 1950s journey across South America, starring Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

Veracruz has been the choice of several filmmakers recently. Three weeks ago, shooting wrapped up near the Veracruz capital of Jalapa on the film "The Fifth Patient," whose cast includes Russell Crowe, said the state's deputy tourism secretary, Gustavo Sousa.

In coming days, Mel Gibson will begin shooting his action-adventure film "Apocalypto" in southern jungle regions of the state. The film will star mostly unknown Mexican actors of Mayan origin and feature dialogue in the Mayan tongue of Yucateco, reports the AP. I.L.

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