STXfilms, a division of STX Entertainment, announced Thursday that it is developing a biopic based on the life of Sheik Zayed, who reigned as Emir of Abu Dhabi for nearly four decades and was the driving force behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates.
“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,” said Adam Fogelson, chairman of STXfilms.
Shekhar Kapur, whose credits include the historical biopics “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” has signed on to direct the film, and Cliff Dorfman (“Warrior,” “Entourage”) will pen the screenplay, according to the studio.
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is credited with transforming the emirates into a modern progressive state during his reign as the nation’s first president, a post he held for nearly 33 years from 1971 until his death in 2004. Considered a relatively liberal ruler for the time period and one of the wealthiest men in the world, Zayed carried out major reforms to the UAE’s education, healthcare, public housing and urban development.
The studio’s latest release is “I Feel Pretty,” starring Amy Schumer. STX’s other recent releases include “The Foreigner” with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan; “A Bad Moms Christmas” starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn; and “Den of Thieves” with Gerard Butler and Curtis `50 Cent’ Jackson.