Starring a Plethora of Superstars from across Africa and the Arab World
Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Empire Entertainment, and Film Clinic have revealed February 2, 2021 as the first day of shooting for the Arabic-language spin off of Italian box office smash hit Perfect Strangers. This comes after the previous two-time postponment of the film’s shooting because of Covid-19 and the political turmoil in Lebanon.
The film’s screenplay is written by Gabriel Yammine and Wissam Smayra, who is also landing his debut film as a director through Perfect Strangers. It stars Mona Zaki (30 Years Ago) (Ehky ya Scheherazade) (Escaping Tel Aviv), BIFA’s nominee filmmaker Nadine Labaki (Capernaum) (Caramel) (Where Do We Go Now?), Eyad Nassar (The Looming Tower) (Sons of Rizk 2) (Blue Elephant: Dark Whispers), Adel Karam, who stars The Insult, Caramel, and Netflix’s Adel Karam: Live from Beirut, and Diamand Bou Abboud (The Insult) (The Sculptor) (Fixer) along with the prestigious Lebanese writer and actor George Khabbaz, who stars Under the Bombs, and Ghadi and has also co-wrote Capernaum.
Produced by Medusa Film, Leone Film Group and Lotus Productions, the Italian version of the film "Perfetti Sconosciuti" has gained a wide critical acclaim grossing $30M since its release. The film has been remade for countless versions that have grossed in total $270M worldwide.
The Arabic language remake is set in the midst of the Lebanese revolution and during the Covid-19 pandemic, with a story of seven long-time friends who decide to play a game over dinner by putting all their mobile phones on the table, thus revealing every text message or phone call that they would receive that evening. Seeming as an enjoyable game at first, things get more serious when secrets become public knowledge within the group.
“2020 has been a discouraging year for all but seeing everyone’s conviction, commitment and excitement to this amazing project gives us all an infinite amount of positivity. We will sure start 2021 with a big buzz here in the Middle East and North Africa” said Mario Jr. Haddad, President of Empire International.
Gianluca Chakra, CEO of Front Row Filmed Entertainment commented on this saying “We’ve seen Egyptian films. Lebanese Films. Saudi films. But never an Arab film. The Middle East has never produced a successful Pan-Arab film as audiences are different across each country and so is the audience. With a contained environment such as this one, we hope that by blending in Egyptian and Lebanese talent who play longtime friends, we could break this mold and start off a new trend in Arab Cinema by introducing new talent using the strength of each Middle East country has to offer. Finally calling it Arab cinema.”
Mohamed Hefzy, CEO of Film-Clinic said “I saw in this project a rare opportunity to work with some of the brightest stars of the Arab World and two of the most influential companies working in the production and distribution of quality cinema in the MENA region, making this a truly Arab creative collaboration, even if adapted from an international concept.”
The film is produced by Gianluca Chakra (Luxor), Mohamed Hefzy, who has produced Netflix’s original series Paranormal, Luxor and Sheikh Jackson, Mario Haddad and executive producer Mayada Hiraki.
The film is slated to be released in the Middle East during the fourth quarter of 2021.