£60mn production to be made by UK group

Biopic on Saladin looks to George Clooney as lead

GMT 14:03 2012 Monday ,13 February

Arab Today, arab today Biopic on Saladin looks to George Clooney as lead

Producers want George Cloonet to play Saladin
London - Arabstoday

Producers want George Cloonet to play Saladin Twickenham Film Group (TWG) on Monday announced they are to produce a major motion picture "Saladin",  the first on the hero’s life. Producers intend to reach out to Academy Award-winner George Clooney to play the title role in the planned £60 million movie epic.
 Saladin tells the story of the infamous 12th century warrior king and his heroic fight against Richard the Lionheart in the Third Crusade. "Spanning the most significant three years in Saladin’s life, the production will depict the courage, wits and battle strategies that established him as the greatest and most chivalrous Arab hero in history," said TWG in a statement.
A real story of our time, Saladin’s storyline will focus on the warrior’s epic battle for the city of Jerusalem against Richard the Lionheart; and how, over years of sieges and subterfuge, the opposing leaders grew to respect each other enough to cast aside their weapons. A story to capture audiences in the Arab world and the West alike, Saladin promises to bring the story of the most prominent Arab hero to the big screen like never before.
Working to a planned budget of £60 million and with a leading Britih screenwriter soon to be contracted, producers intend to reach out to Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven, The Descendants) to play the title role, alongside Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, The Constant Gardener) as Richard the Lionheart. Talks are underway to produce the film both on location in the Middle East and in the UK. TWG has an exclusive sales and international distribution agreement with Hollywood based Inferno.
The producers of Saladin also announced the creation of the solely Middle East-backed Oasis Film Fund, part of the Twickenham Film Group of companies. Launched with the aim of funding future major productions, including those with strong and positive Arab storyline content, the £200 million Oasis Film Fund will appeal to both individual and corporate Middle East investors keen to involve themselves
within the booming British film industry.
"With the UK now the third largest cinema market in the world after grossing a record-breaking £1 billion in 2011, the Oasis Film Fund aims to build on the industry’s on-going success with its new Oasis Film Fund slate. Featuring ten commercial, theatrical films – including Saladin, its flagship production – the new slate demonstrates Oasis Film Fund’s commitment to working with established A-List movie stars, as well as discovering the next generation of acting, writing and directing talent from both the UK and the Middle East. Twickenham Film Group’s mandate is to work alongside as many Arab actors, writers, producers and directors as possible in the production of their newly announced slate of ten films," said the TWG.
Other productions  include Rachel and Talal, a heart-warming journey of culture-clashing discovery between an elderly American Jewish woman living in London and teenage Arab student Talal, hired to help look after her. Barbra Streisand (Yentl, The Way We Were) is in talks for the lead role. With its ten new productions, The Oasis Film Fund slate promises to build on the British tradition of working with the best in the movie business.
The announcement of the Saladin production was held at the headquarters of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce in Mayfair, London, in association with the Chamber, and was attended by Middle Eastern Ambassadors and business names, Arab media and prominent names from the British film industry. Also attending the event was Arab-British Chamber of Commerce Secretary General and CEO Dr Afnan Al-Shuaiby, and its Chairman, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean.


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