Movie slated for release in 2006.

Jennifer Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony are to act alongside one another in a music-based movie, "El Cantante" (The Singer).

The feature film, based on the life of iconic Puerto Rican singer Hector Lavoe, began filming Dec. 4 in New York City. The film stars Anthony as Lavoe and Lopez as his wife, Puchi. Other featured actors include John Ortiz as Willie Colon.

Lopez is producing "El Cantante" with Julio Caro, Simon Fields and David Maldonado. Director Leon Ichaso ("Piñeiro") co-wrote the script with Maldonado and David Darmsteder.

Maldonado, an artist manager whose clients include Obie Bermudez and who at one point also handled Anthony early in his career, also produced the off-Broadway show "Quien Mato a Hector Lavoe?" (Who Killed Hector Lavoe) in 2000, starring another salsa star, Domingo Quiñones.

The movie will finish shooting in Puerto Rico and is scheduled for release in 2006.

"El Cantante" takes its name from the song written by Ruben Blades and popularized by Lavoe, who in the 1970s rose to become one of the great voices of salsa in the New York music scene, at the height of the genre's popularity.

Lavoe, who initially recorded with Colon, later went solo and reached the peak of his fame in the mid 1970s. His works include "El Periodico de Ayer" and "Calle Luna, Calle Sol," recorded with Colon. In the 1980s, as salsa's popularity declined, Lavoe saw his health slide and, suffering from drug and alcohol problems, attempted suicide by jumping from a 10th story building. He survived, but died later in 1993.