Cinematical.com reports that the Egyptian production company, Good News, has an Osama Bin Ladin bio-pic in the pipeline. Last year, Good News made the very successful award-winning “The Yacoubian Building,” which was the most expensive film ever produced in Egypt. Now Good News is ready to tackle one of the most controversial figures in the world today, Osama Bin Ladin.
The movie is meant to appeal to Western audiences as well as those in Egypt and will “frame” the script for sensitive Westerners. Adeeb and Good News are trying to make films more palatable for Americans to swallow and the Bin Ladin bio is no exception (my emphasis throughout):
Now Good News is following the success of The Yacoubian Building with a few more high-profile films that should be geared towards and possibly appeal to American audiences. The first is a biopic about Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and the history of al Qaeda. According to Good News head Adel Adeeb, the plot will focus on the two al Qaeda leaders as they contact an American journalist in order to tell their life stories. This seems likely to be a framing device for a film told in flashback, and the fictional Western filter should make it easier for American audiences to digest the film, which will certainly be controversial no matter how accessible.
Stuff.co.nz also covered the story and provides more insight into the type of story line, saying that Adeeb is taking a no holds barred approach to the movie, which is the first of six that his company is making with Western funding. Adeeb believes that the responsibility for 9/11 is not so clear cut and we need to see the “whole picture”:
"We believe it takes two to tango - you cannot just blame all the Arabs for all of this or blame all the Americans," Adeeb said in an interview.
"We need to understand from both worlds what really happened, what we suffered from this and what we can gain," he told Reuters.
"We have bits and pieces of a picture of al Qaeda since September 11, but we need to see the whole picture," said Adeeb.
Good News intends to help us to overcome stereotypes and all come together as one, through the magic of film, but then stereotypes Arabs, Europeans and Americans in the process by claiming that they only see each other as caricatures:
Good News last year produced "The Yacoubian Building," a film based on the best-selling novel by Egypt's Alaa el-Aswany which dealt with social taboos and featured a frank portrayal of government corruption, police torture and homosexuality.
The film was one of the highest-grossing ever made in the region, although it was intended for audiences not only in the Arab world but also in Europe and North America so that different cultures could learn about each other, Adeeb said.
"It is ridiculous in 2007 how Arabs, Europeans and Americans see each other - porno movies, money, guns and power versus veiled women, terrorists and a camel," said the filmmaker.
If shown in the US, I’m sure the movie will be a darling among Western critics for its “complexity” and “nuance.” Look for it at upcoming Western film festivals, especially Cannes and Sundance. The question is, will it play at Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca Film Festival, which was started by Robert DeNiro as a response to the devastation of 9/11 and also awarded “The Yacoubian Building” a Best New Feature Director prize?