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.
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