“One Thousand and One Nights,” a vast collection of treasured Middle Eastern folklore, is being adapted for film, TV and gaming content by producer Reza Aslan and film executive Erik Feig’s new venture, Picturestart.
The internationally renowned stories — which count characters like Aladdin and his genie, Sinbad and Alibaba — will be framed as they have throughout history, as told by the Persian queen Scheherazade. Self-contained stories and tales-within-tales will be told across various media, all springing from the powerful female figure in different time periods and new dimensions, ala “Doctor Who.”
Picturestart will produce and finance, with Aslan and Mahyad Tousi of BoomGen Studios as writer-creators. Aslan is an Emmy nominee and James Joyce Award winner, whose credits include HBO’s drama “The Leftovers” and the upcoming “Dune: The Sisterhood.” He hosts the Topic streaming series “Rough Draft” as well as the podcast Metaphysical Milkshake. Ryan Lindenberg and Julia Hammer will oversee the property for Picturestart.
Tousi is a writer, producer and media strategist, whose resume includes executive producing duties on the Chuck Lorre comedy “The United States of Al” for CBS, the biblical epic “Of Kings and Prophets” for ABC and the award-winning virtual-reality documentary “Zikr: A Sufi Revival.”
Feig, a former head of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and prior to that Summit Entertainment, has been ramping up his diversified production-financing entity. The company counts investment from WarnerMedia and Scholastic.
His inaugural slate includes the “Grease” movie prequel “Summer Nights” at Paramount, an adaptation of Elizabeth Acevedo’s bestselling novel “With the Fire on High” and the teen road-trip comedy “Unpregnant,” written by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan, which will launch on HBO Max next year.