French-Algerian filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb has lined up a trio of English-language films with Arabic sensibilities, including pics toplined by Forest Whitaker and Sienna Miller.
Bouchareb, whose “Outside the Law” was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar last year, will produce the three films with partner Jean Brehat through their American company Taghit, which was formed in 1999.
First pic will be the American production “Just Like a Woman,” which will star Miller and Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani (“Body of Lies”) as two women from different backgrounds who embark on a journey of self-discovery after escaping from broken marriages. Miller’s character pursues a passion for belly-dancing after catching her husband cheating, while Farahani plays an Arab immigrant to Chicago who works at a supermarket and is berated by her mother-in-law for not having produced any children.
Charles Cohen (“Frozen River”) is also producing “Woman.”
The second film will be “Belleville’s Cop,” which Bouchareb co-wrote with Larry Gross (“48 Hrs.”). Pic, which will begin filming in late summer 2012, is a fish-out-of-water comedy about a French-Arabic cop sent to work alongside a LAPD policewoman.
Whitaker is attached to star in the untitled third pic, which is set in Arizona along the Mexican border. He will play a Muslim parolee released from prison after a 10-year stint who takes up residence in a small city full of paranoia about outsiders. Story focuses on his relationship with his parole officer and the town’s sheriff, who’s convinced that terrorists are crossing the border along with illegal immigrants. Production is skedded for 2013.
Cinema Libre Studio will release Bouchareb’s “London River” later this year. Set in 2005 London, pic stars Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyate as strangers in search of their children, missing since the underground terrorist bombings.