×

Thomas Bidegain Takes on ‘Siege of Mecca’ Series for HBO; Develops Sophomore Feature (EXCLUSIVE)

French writer and director Thomas Bidegain, whose screenwriting credits include Jacques Audiard’s “The Sisters Brothers,” has joined forced with Noé Debré (“Dheepan”) to co-write a miniseries based on the “The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda,” the 2007 book written by Wall Street Journal correspondent Yaroslav Trofimov.

Produced by Vice for HBO, the four-part series chronicles the 1979 Grand Mosque seizure in Mecca by Islamic radicals.

“It’s a crazy story. Salafists invaded the Mecca and the hostage situation lasted for 14 days with tens of thousands of people, including some Americans, Saudis and Iranians, who were trapped inside; no one understood what was happening, the negotiations lasted two weeks,” said Bidegain, who pointed out that earlier that same month as the siege, Iranian students had taken more 60 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

The Forge is executive producing the series. Bidegain and Noé are frequent collaborators, having worked together on Audiard’s Palme d’Or winning “Dheepan” and Bidegain’s feature debut, “Les Cowboys,” which world-premiered at Cannes’s Directors Fortnight in 2015.

Bidegain and Noe have also been collaborating with Tom McCarthy on the script of a film McCarthy is meant to direct. Bidegain said McCarthy approached him after watching “The Cowboys,” his directorial debut.

Bidegain is currently developing his sophomore feature, “Soudain, Seuls” (working title), a drama based on French sailor-turned-writer Isabelle Autissier’s novel.

Alain Attal’s Tresor Films is on board to produce the movie. Bidegain said he was exploring the possibility of making the film in English and cited Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible” with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as an example of a powerful film with an international cast financed in Europe.

“There are so many talented actors I could approach if I made this in English; and after ‘The Sisters Brothers,’ the planets seem to be lined up for me to make that leap,” said Bidegain.

“Soudain, Seuls” is a compelling story because it’s both an intimate portrait of a couple and at the same time a depiction of the wilderness, he says. “It’s a close look at two people whose shared utopia and bond gets tested as they struggle to survive in extreme circumstances,” said Bidegain.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Antlers Trailer

    Guillermo Del Toro's 'Antlers' Starring Keri Russell Drops Chilling First Trailer

    Events take a dark turn for a small town school teacher, played by “The Americans'” Keri Russell, in the first teaser trailer for horror movie “Antlers,” produced by Guillermo del Toro. The footage, unveiled Tuesday, centers on a young boy (Jeremy T. Thomas) reading from a frightening short story he’s written as Russell listens. The [...]

  • Why Hollywood Should Tone Down Violence

    Why It's Time for Hollywood to Reconsider the Amount of Violence on Screen (Column)

    To put it mildly, we live in scary, intolerant, violent times. Since a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, and killed 20 children, six adults and himself, there have been at least 2,187 mass shootings across America, resulting in the deaths of some 2,461 people and wounding more than [...]

  • James Bond Spectre

    James Bond Movie Title Revealed

    The latest James Bond adventure finally has a title. The 25th entry in the action spy series will be named “No Time to Die.” In the upcoming movie, Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA [...]

  • IFC Midnight Buys Brighton Sharbino Survival

    IFC Midnight Buys Survival Thriller 'Radioflash' (EXCLUSIVE)

    IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to “Radioflash,” a survival thriller starring Dominic Monaghan and Brighton Sharbino, Variety has learned. The company will release the movie on Nov. 15. The film imagines a dystopian future, one in which an electric-magnetic pulse strikes America, knocking out all the power and pushing the country into the Dark [...]

  • Lee-Daniels-headshot

    Lee Daniels Entertainment Announces Diverse Creative Workshop

    Lee Daniels Entertainment and the online entertainment network Represent by OMV have launched a diversity-focused creative workshop to promote a diverse group of new writers. The workshop will be held from Sept. 25-28 in Los Angeles, with travel provided by American Airlines. Industry professionals will mentor aspiring creatives from underrepresented communities with workshops, meetings with [...]

  • Peter Fonda Obit Remembered

    Remembering Peter Fonda, Indie Revolutionary and Counterculture Icon (Column)

    Captain America has died. Not the spandex-clad Marvel superhero, but counterculture poster boy Peter Fonda, who shook up Hollywood and revolutionized the country’s sense of itself by co-writing, producing and starring in “Easy Rider” 50 years ago this summer — the same summer depicted in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Culture [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content