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Cannes: Best-Selling Arab Novel ‘Utopia’ Set For Bigscreen (EXCLUSIVE)

Arab best-selling novel “Utopia,” set in an apocalyptic future Egypt where the wealthy have retreated to a U.S. Marine-protected coastal colony, will get the cinematic treatment, directed by Egyptian multi-hyphenate Rami Imam (pictured).

A graduate of the American U in Cairo, Imam is best known for films including “Amir El Zalam” (Prince of Darkness) and “Hassan and Morcus,” as well as several local hit TV series.

He is also a theater director and a composer.

Casting of “Utopia” is being decided. Imam is seeking to recruit at least one high-profile American actor to play one of the Marines.

Penned by popular Egyptian writer Ahmed Khaled Towfik, “Utopia” has topped best-seller lists in the Arab world and been translated into English and French. It has a massive Arab fan base.

In the book’s alternative future, Israel has built its own version of the Suez Canal and the Middle East’s oil has became worthless due to the U.S. invention of a new super-fuel. It’s set in 2030 Egypt, in a city called Utopia, inhabited by rich oppressors, and Cairo, where the “Others,” or the oppressed, live.

The “Utopia” pic is being developed and co-produced by Rami Imam’s own production company, Cairo-based True Motion, in partnership with several international special effects outfits to ensure top-notch effects and cinematography highlighting the contrast between the lifestyles in both cities.

“Utopia requires a gargantuan and exceptional effort in visual and special effects, a la Marvel Studios, including greenscreens and CG shots highlighting both worlds,” Imam said

Cairo-based marketing and distribution company Mad Solutions is also on board as partner.

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