Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is the focus of a new Hollywood film, according to reports. Set to be directed by Shekhar Kapur (he of Elizabeth: The Golden Age), the biopic will be the first-ever Hollywood depiction of the life of the late Sheikh Zayed, and will be based on a script penned by Entourage writer Cliff Dorfman. Hollywood production house STX Films, which recently released the comedy I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer, is developing the film, according to The National.
“Patterned after great movies like Gandhi, Selma, and Darkest Hour, this project will tell the story of a dynamic, powerful personality who helped create historic change,” chairman of STX Films, Adam Fogelson, told the publication.
If anyone deserves to have their story told, it’s His Highness. The Bedouin tribesman who became President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi had a fundamental impact on the UAE’s development, one that reverberated throughout the entire region. He is rightfully credited with transforming the Gulf country from a vast expanse of desert without paved roads, electricity, or running water into a modern and progressive state. During his 38-year tenure, he led Abu Dhabi to independence, used the country’s massive oil revenue to build sleek skyscrapers as well as hospitals, universities, and cities, and championed women’s equality in the Emirates — and that’s just barely scratching the surface.
The news of the biopic comes as the UAE celebrates the Year of Zayed, a 12-month period that marks 100 years since the birth of the Founding Father. Currently, there is no further information on the cast or where the biopic will be filmed. The release date is also still yet to be announced, but we’ll keep you updated as the story unfolds.