William Nix and his Creative Projects Group have launched development of a biopic centering on Lebanese-American artist-poet Khalil Gibran.
Sibling screenwriters Grace Shalhoub Yazbek and Rob Shalhoub are scripting.
Nix plans to begin seeking a director next month for the live-action project, which would cover the career and character of Gibran, who is best known for the 1923 book “The Prophet” and its themes of respect for various cultures and religions.
Biopic will begin with Gibran’s early years in Lebanon, his family’s emigration to America, his ascendancy in New York and Paris during the early 20th century, his death and the creation of the Gibran Museum in Lebanon.
A deal for Gibran’s life rights has been signed with the Gibran National Committee of Lebanon, which agreed in 2010 to license an animated version of “The Prophet.” Nix is an exec producer on that project, which is in production and expected to be completed by the end of next year.
“We wanted to finish ‘The Prophet’ first before we went into production on the live-action project,” Nix told Variety. “I’ve been working on these two films for the past five and a half years.”
Salma Hayek, Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski are producing “The Prophet,” with each chapter in a differing style created by international teams of animators and animation studios. Directors include Marjane Sartapi, Chris Landreth, Tomm Moor, Joan Gratz and Bill Plympton.
Gibran’s “The Prophet” — a series of sermons by a fictional wise man who’s about to embark on a journey home — has sold more than 100 million copies in 40 languages.
Upon Gibran’s death in 1931, rights to his work were bequeathed to his hometown of Bsharri, Lebanon; the Gibran National Committee was formed to administer the rights. Nix and the committee plan to work closely together on the feature project.
Jean Gibran, who co-authored the 1974 biography “Khalil Gibran: His Life and World,” will work as a story consultant on the biopic. She is the widow of sculptor and co-author Kahlil G. Gibran, a cousin of the elder Gibran.
Nix has also signed an agreement with the Gibran National Committee to develop and produce an international art exhibit.