×

Saudi Director Haifaa Al Mansour Set for ‘The Perfect Candidate’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour, who with “Wadjda” became the first female filmmaker in her country, is set to return to Saudi Arabia to shoot “The Perfect Candidate,” a drama with comedic elements about a young female physician who maneuvers through her conservative, male-dominated society to run in the municipal council elections.

Shooting on the Arabic-language pic is expected to start in Saudi Arabia in the second half of 2018, said producers Roman Paul and Gerhard Meixner, whose Berlin-based Razor Films produced “Wadjda.”

They described “The Perfect Candidate” as a somewhat ironic look at the new developments in Saudi Arabia caused by women being able to be elected on a local political level.

The film’s Saudi protagonist is frustrated after being turned back at the airport because her travel permission from her male guardian wasn’t up to date, so she embarks on an absurd campaign, balancing strict social norms, gender segregation and the influence of her eccentric family, according to the film’s synopsis written by the director.

“It’s quite funny,” said Paul. “It has Haifaa’s sense of humor, this time a bit more [than “Wadjda”],” he added.

Plans are for the film, with a local cast, to shoot in the second half of 2018 “when it’s not too hot down there, because temperature is an issue,” the producers said.

They are in talks for a sales agent to come on board the project, which is sparking plenty of interest, they said.

“Wadjda,” about a rebellious Saudi girl who wants to ride a bicycle in her country, where that is not allowed, was released by Sony Pictures Classics in the U.S. after launching from the Venice Film Festival in 2012, and was Saudi Arabia’s first Oscar foreign-language film entry.

Since then, Al-Mansour has shot “Mary Shelley,” based on the life of “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelley, starring Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth. That English-language film is now in post and is tipped to bow in a Venice berth in September.

UTA Independent Film Group will be representing U.S. rights for “Mary Shelley” and worldwide rights for “The Perfect Candidate.”

Al-Mansour is represented by UTA, Anonymous Content and Loeb & Loeb.

 

More Film

  • The Lion King

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Roars Overseas With Mighty $269 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” certainly felt the love this weekend, generating $269 million at the international box office. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the classic Disney cartoon now holds the eighth-biggest debut of all time overseas, even with China opening last weekend. Combined with a stellar $185 million start in North America, “The Lion King” [...]

  • Scarlett JohanssonMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Scarlett Johansson Reveals What We'll Learn About Black Widow in Stand-Alone Movie

    Scarlett Johansson can finally talk about her upcoming “Black Widow” movie. While she can’t divulge spoilers, she let out a big sigh of relief after the film was officially announced on Saturday during the Marvel Studios presentation at Comic-Con. “I feel like a weight has been lifted,” the Oscar nominee told Variety. “Black Widow” is [...]

  • The Lion King Box Office

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Rules With $185 Million Debut

    Simba and Mufasa reigned supreme this weekend as Disney’s “The Lion King” dominated box office charts. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the animated classic collected a massive $185 million from 4,756 North American theaters during its first three days of release. The movie landed the best domestic launch for a PG film and set a [...]

  • Creative-Producers-Indaba-Cover-Image-1920x1080-px-2

    Realness, EAVE, IFFR, Sundance Launch African Producers Network

    DURBAN–South Africa’s Realness Institute, EAVE, the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Sundance Institute are joining forces to create the Creative Producers Indaba, a professional training program designed to support emerging African producers. Inspired by initiatives such as the EAVE Producers Workshop and Sundance’s Creative Producing, the program will bring together 15 participants to develop [...]

  • BOTM-Eve-Viper-Gang

    Director Angus Gibson: My Audience is ‘Young, Black South Africans’

    DURBAN–Sophiatown, 1958. On the outskirts of Johannesburg, as the apartheid police prepare to demolish the community at the heart of black South African cultural and intellectual life, a notorious gang leader is determined to make a last stand. Resisting the forced evictions that will transport the residents of Sophiatown to a desolate township miles away, [...]

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content