|Antonio Banderas as the Cid?|
By November 2003 it was reported that Martin Campbell (Beyond Borders, GoldenEye) had been selected to direct the film. At that time Sarkissian had renewed his production deal at MGM and El Cid was only one of several projects in development.
In February 2004 it was announced that novelist-screenwriter Scott B Smith (A Simple Plan) had been contracted for a first-draft screenplay. After that all mention of the project in the trade press ended. It may be surmised that the general inability of a string of big-budget epics to duplicate Gladiator‘s success had dampened MGM's enthusiasm. Notably the Crusaders-vs-Muslim film Kingdom of Heaven, had cost $130 million to make and garnered only $47 million in US box-office. Together with the complex and deteriorating relationship between America and the Muslim world after the invasion of Iraq, this undoubtedly made the project unattractive to potential backers.