Prominent Dubai-based distribution and production outfit Front Row is going forward on its Arabic remake of French hit comedy “Intouchables,” with a writer and director team now attached and plans to start shooting in Egypt in May 2022.
For the task of adapting the French original about a grumpy white paraplegic billionaire who strikes a friendship with his street-smart Black ex-con caretaker, Front Row has recruited Egyptian screenwriter Amr El Daly (pictured, left) who is best known for hit ensemble drama “Dawaran Shoubra,” for which he incorporated the 2011 Tahrir Square revolution in the narrative as it was unfolding. More recently, El Daly was behind “Ded El Kasr” (Can’t Be Broken), a series toplining Egyptian megastar Nelly Karim, which was a Ramadan season hit on streamer Shahid earlier this year.
The Arabic “Intouchables” redo will be directed by Lebanon’s Jad Aouad (pictured below, right) making his feature film debut after making a name for himself in the advertising world where he has won several awards for his ad spots.
Released in 2011, the Gaumont and Canal Plus original “Intouchables” starred Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet and made over $426 million in the international theatrical market. It also ranks third in France’s all-time box office. Its massive success has spawned several adaptations, including the 2019 U.S. version “The Upside” starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman.
The Arabic version, which is set in Egypt, will focus on a wealthy Egyptian paraplegic and his relationship to a small-time hood who becomes his caretaker. The two form a strong bond despite the wide social and cultural divide between them.
“We’ve made it our mission to find and nurture emerging talent that we feel will have a profound impact and drive change in the creative industry,” said Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra in a statement. “We’re very excited to be working with both Jad and Amr on ‘Intouchables,'” he added. “They have truly authentic voices and a natural instinct that will make this version unique for Arab viewers while also translating well for international audiences.”
Front Row has now completed an Arabic adaptation of hit Italian concept movie “Perfect Strangers,” which it co-produced with Egypt’s Film Clinic, featuring a high-caliber ensemble cast including Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki, that’s due for an early 2022 release across the West Asia region.