×

UAE Founder Sheikh Zayed Biopic in the Works From STXfilms

STXfilms is developing a biopic based on the life of the late Sheikh Zayed, the former president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Shekhar Kapur, whose credits include “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” has signed on to direct the film. Cliff Dorfman (“Warrior,” “Entourage”) will write the screenplay.

STXfilms made the announcement Thursday, noting that Sheikh Zayed was instrumental in the formation of the UAE in 1971 and is credited with transforming the emirates into a modern progressive state, attempting, as the nation’s first president, to create a world of coexistence and peace.

The studio said Zayed, who died in 2004, was considered a liberal ruler for the time period and became known for promoting tolerance, universal human values, women’s rights, and environmental protection, and carried out major reforms to the UAE’s education, healthcare, public housing, and urban development. He was also one of the wealthiest men in the world due to the massive oil reserves of the UAE.

“Patterned after great movies like ‘Gandhi,’ ‘Selma,’ and ‘Darkest Hour,’ this project will tell the story of a dynamic, powerful personality who helped create historic change,” said Adam Fogelson, chairman of STXfilms.

The four-year-old studio has seen its best performances from the “Bad Moms” franchise, and is opening “Adrift,” a survival drama with Sam Claflin and Shailene Woodley, this weekend. Upcoming films include Melissa McCarthy’s comedy “The Happytime Murders,” Mark Wahlberg’s action-thriller “Mile 22,” and “Peppermint,” a revenge thriller with Jennifer Garner.

POPULAR ON VARIETY:

More Film

  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

    Film Review: 'TINY: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

    “Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Revenge Motive May Have Sparked Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Japanese media is speculating that revenge was the motivation for the arson attack on Kyoto Animation which killed 33 people on Thursday. Investigative sources quoted by Jiji Press on Friday said that the man in custody had a grudge against the studio. “Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate Gabriel Luna

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Cast Proud of Latinx Representation in Latest Installment

    The stars of the Tim Miller-directed “Terminator: Dark Fate” stormed the stage of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday, but it wasn’t until after the panel — which included appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton — that Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta reflected on what makes the upcoming installment in the [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

  • Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy Team

    Matt Damon Teams with 'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy on New Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even as buzz grows for his upcoming race car drama “Ford v. Ferrari,” Matt Damon looks to keep the pedal to the metal: the A-lister is set to star in the Participant Media feature film “Stillwater” with Tom McCarthy directing. Damon attached himself in May, and the package was quickly acquired by Participant, who previously [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content