LONDON — Director Asif Kapadia has started to shoot “Ali & Nino,” which is produced by Kris Thykier, and adapted from Kurban Said’s novel by Christopher Hampton. IM Global is handling international sales.
Adam Bakri (“Omar”) and Maria Valverde (Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings”) will star as the titular star-crossed lovers, and will be joined by a cast that includes Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Princess Bride”) and Connie Nielsen (“Nymphomaniac,” “Gladiator”), playing Nino’s parents Gregor and Tamar Kipiani.
Other cast include Riccardo Scamarcio (“Loose Canons,” “My Brother Is an Only Child”), Homayoun Ershadi (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Kite Runner”), Fakhraddin Manafov (“Try Not to Breathe,” “Good Bye, Southern City”), Assaad Bouab (“Days of Glory,” “Whatever Lola Wants”), Numan Acar (“Homeland”) and Halit Ergenc (“1001 Nights”).
Ali Khan and Nino Kipiani live in Baku, the cosmopolitan, oil-rich capital of Azerbaijan, which, at the beginning of the 20h century, is a melting pot of different cultures. Ali is a Muslim, with his warrior ancestors’ passion for the desert, and Nino is a Christian Georgian girl with “sophisticated” European ways. The two have loved each other since childhood, and Ali is determined that he will marry Nino, despite their cultural differences, but there is more important than the obstacle of their different religions and parental consent to overcome. World War I breaks out, and Baku’s oil becomes the focus of Russia’s effort to seize power. As the war plays out and control of the Caucuses changes hands, Ali and Nino find themselves swept up in Azerbaijan’s fight for independence.
Said’s novel, which was first publication in 1937, has been translated into 33 languages worldwide.
Pic is executive produced by Leyla Aliyeva.