Sheikh Zayed’s biopic will be reworked by Gladiator writer


DUBAI: The late Sheikh Zayed, first president of the United Arab Emirates, is getting a biopic which is going to be rewritten by Gladiator writer David Franzoni.

Variety had reported last year that Hollywood production house STX Films is developing the project with director Shekhar Kapur who is known for Elizabeth: The Golden Age. However, The Hollywood Reporter says that the biopic which has been penned by Entourage writer Cliff Dorfman is now being handed over to Franzoni to rewrite.

“Patterned after great movies like Gandhi, Selma and Darkest Hour, this project will tell the story of a dynamic, powerful personality who helped create historic change,” STXfilms’ Adam Fogelson had said about the project.

Adding to that, in an interview with The National Robert Simonds, chairman and chief executive of STX Entertainment, said, “Our aim is to create a film that honours Sheikh Zayed’s inspirational life and accomplishments. We are in great hands with Bafta-winning director Shekhar Kapur.”

Emirati award-winning documentary filmmaker Amal Al Agroobi had also been trying to work towards a biopic on the Sheikh but failed to generate enough funds for the project. Although she’s glad that a film on the president is finally in the works, she’s upset Hollywood is taking control of their narrative.

“This seems to be the trend in the UAE, we consistently allow the West to tell our narrative, dictate our structure, solidify our history while we sit back and watch,” she said.

Sheikh Zayed, who died in 2004, ruled the UAE for 38 years and was instrumental in bringing about urban development in the country.