Bringing Latin Literature To Life

Benjamin Bratt, one of the stars of "Love in the Time of Cholera," says filming a work by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a challenge of a lifetime.

The movie, directed by Mike Newell, is the first major English-language adaptation of a Garcia Marquez novel. It was filmed in Cartagena, Colombia. The epic, turn-of-the-century tale is set along South America's Caribbean coast and follows one man's quest to win his unrequited love.

Photos: Book People
"The experience of living in Cartagena was incredible," said Bratt, who attended the film's premiere Thursday night at a theater on South Beach's famed Lincoln Road.

"It's a magical place. The people are incredible, so much history," Bratt, 43, said.

The film also stars Javier Bardem, John Leguizamo and Giovanna Mezzogiorno.

Leguizamo said he hopes it will lead to more recognition for other Latin American authors.

"Ah man, I mean to make sure the novel had the authority he wrote with - that the film was worthy of a Nobel Prize-winning author - if we were able to capture that, it opens the door for so many other of his novels and to other great Latin literary giants like him," Leguizamo, also 43, said.

"Love" marks the first Latin American foray for British director Newell ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral"), as well as for producer Scott Steindorff.

Steindorff ("The Human Stain") said he wanted to make the film in English to help audiences understand Colombian and Latin American cultures.

"And, when you see this movie - it's very expensive, so we had to have a big audience," he said.

Asked if he planned to adapt other Garcia Marquez books into films, Steindorff was coy.

"I want to make more movies in Colombia and more movies with Mr. Marquez," he said. "No deals have been concluded yet."

Garcia Marquez, 80, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982. He is recognized for having brought Latin America's magic realism to a global audience. His most famous work is "One Hundred Years of Solitude."