Pinto, Molina, Ritchie sign on for ‘Dancer’

Pic follows the life of Iranian Afshin Ghaffarian

Freida Pinto, Alfred Molina and Reece Ritchie are set to star in U.K. production “Desert Dancer,” based on the life of Iranian dancer Afshin Ghaffarian.

Pic is penned by Jon Croker, who is writing the sequel to “The Woman in Black,” and marks the directorial debut of Richard Raymond, who produced Philip Ridley’s 2009 “Heartless.”

Story is set in Iran, where most forms of dancing are banned, against the backdrop of the 2009 election protests. Despite the dangers, Ghaffarian (Ritchie) is willing to risk his life to fight for his dream to become a dancer.

Raymond will produce through his May 13 Films banner alongside Nigel Thomas at Matador Pictures and Izabella Miko.

Marina Fuentes’ Six Sales is handling foreign rights to “Desert Dancer” and will launch sales at Cannes this week.

Exec producers are Luis Astorquia, Blue Pencil Set, Sixteen19 in New York and Steve Norris.

Parisa Dunn and Sarah Arison co-produce.

Rostik Investment Group is also backing the film.

Pic is in pre-production and is skedded to lense this summer in Turkey and Jordan.

CAA is repping domestic rights for the pic.

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