×

Oscar Nominee Abu-Assad, Abbout Productions Team for ‘King’s Wives’ Series

Twice Academy Award-nominated writer-director Hany Abu-Assad (“Paradise Now,” “Omar”) is teaming with Abbout Productions, Lebanon’s top indie shingle, on TV series project “The King’s Wives.”

The six-episode fiction, pitched Feb. 25 at the 2020 Berlinale Co-Pro Series, is set to be the first TV drama produced by Abbout, a Beirut-set production house run by Georges Schoucair, best known to date for films with a distinctly Arab voice.

Scheduled to shoot from fall 2021 in Morocco or Turkey, “The King’s Wives” is conceived as a multicultural project, with Palestinian-Dutch Abu-Assad as co-creator and showrunner, production by a Lebanese team, with a cast coming from all over the Arab world and international heads of departments.

A TV drama with humorous elements, set in a modern unnamed Arab monarchy, “The King’s Wives” follows Zein, a revolutionary princess who wants to challenge the monarchy and improve women’s rights.

She aligns with her progressive husband, Prince Malik, and their three daughters, when Malik’s father is struck ill and the coronation of a new king becomes urgent.

The royal court gives Malik an ultimatum: if Zein, who is pregnant, delivers another girl, he must either give the throne to his conservative brother Omar or marry a second wife.

When Zein delivers a baby girl, they make a bold move, escalating a situation in which four wives share Malik. Meanwhile, a revolution in the streets threatens the kingdom.

The project is dubbed by its creators as a cross between “The Crown” in its royal allure, “Succession” in its family intrigue, and “Big Little Lies” in the complexities of the relationships between women.

Abbout’s Schoucair and Myriam Sassine will produce the series, co-created by Amira Diab, a producer on Abu-Assad’s film “The Mountain Between Us.”

“The series tells the current challenges of Arab monarchies stuck between their traditions and their thrive for modernity. It’s also a feminist series that raises awareness about the women’s ability to occupy leadership positions in governments and places of power,” Schoucair said.

“It has some elements of romance and comedy. When you add to them the gap between the Western culture and Arab culture, the gap between men and women in the Arab world, and a man forced to marrying four wives, these elements mixed together will definitely add a humorous result while keeping the seriousness of the series’ world,” Sassine said.

Abu-Assad is known for directing 2006’s “Paradise Now,” which received an Oscar nomination in the then best foreign-language film category. His 2013 movie “Omar” was nominated in the same category and selected for Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where it went on to win its Jury Prize.

Abbout Productions has managed since 1998 to bring together a network of Arab and Lebanese filmmakers, having produced award-winning films such as Ghassan Salhab’s “The Valley,” Vatche Boulghourjian’s “Tramontane” and Ahmad Ghossein’s “All This Victory.”

Recently, the company has shown interest in the world of TV drama as it saw how some international series, made in their  non-English languages and dialects, becoming a worldwide success.

In addition to “The King’s Wives,” Abbout is involved in developing three new series that also tackle Arab culture with potential international appeal.

“The King’s Wives” is one of the 10 projects selected at the 6h Berlinale Co-Pro Series, running Feb. 25-26 at the Zoo Palast.

At Co-Pro Series, Abbout executives are looking for co-producers, broadcasters and further financing and distribution partners mostly from France, Italy, U.S., Canada, Germany and Turkey.

More TV

  • iheart living room concert for america

    Fox's 'IHeart Living Room Concert for America': TV Review

    There’s something refreshing about something being about what it’s actually about. This was the thought that came to mind as the Backstreet Boys — a band still riding on the afterburn of one massive hit — performed a five-way “socially distanced” version of “I Want It That Way” on Fox’s televised benefit to raise awareness [...]

  • Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in

    'Homeland': Carrie Mathison Says Goodbye to Longtime Ally (SPOILERS)

    “Homeland” reached another milestone in its final season with the passing of a fan-favorite character who has been with the show since its inception. SPOILER ALERT: The following includes spoilers for “Threnody(s),” episode 8 of the eighth and final season of Showtime’s “Homeland.”  Carrie Mathison has said goodbye to a longtime ally in her quest [...]

  • Jane Levy Breaks Down Special 'Zoey's

    Jane Levy on 'Panic' and Jim Carrey as Inspiration for Special 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' Episode

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch,” the eighth episode of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” thrust Jane Levy back into the spotlight as a leading lady in a broadcast series, but the eighth episode of that NBC dramedy, entitled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch,” more literally thrust her into [...]

  • ‘Westworld’: 5 Burning Questions From Season

    ‘Westworld’: 5 Burning Questions From Season 3 Episode 3

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the third episode of “Westworld” Season 3. After Maeve (Thandie Newton) and Bernard’s (Jeffrey Wright) windy Westworld and Warworld antics from last time around, Episode 3 returned to the equally dangerous environment of future Los Angeles. The episode began with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) playing [...]

  • Outlander 507

    The 'Outlander' Death That Brought 'An Unexpected Wave of Emotion' (SPOILERS)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Ballad of Roger Mac,” the seventh episode of “Outlander” Season 5. The latest “Outlander” episode was simply heartbreaking with one confirmed death and one fate left quite literally hanging in the balance. Both book readers and non-book readers alike have been aware for [...]

  • Mergers and Deals Placeholder

    Tegna Confirms Two Acquisition Offers Withdrawn Amid Coronavirus Upheaval

    Tegna confirmed Sunday that two suitors for the station group have recently withdrawn acquisition offers, citing the upheaval in the broader marketplace caused by the coronavirus crisis. Tegna’s statement is the company’s first acknowledgement that it has received four unsolicited acquisition offers in recent weeks. Two of those have since been withdrawn while the other [...]

  • David Schramm

    David Schramm, Star on NBC's 'Wings,' Dies at 73

    David Schramm, a stage actor who was also a star on the NBC comedy “Wings,” has died. He was 73. Schramm was a founding member of New York’s The Acting Company, which announced the news of his death on Sunday. He played Roy Biggins, the rival airline owner on “Wings,” and appeared in all 172 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content