'99 Homes' Producer Offers Lindsay Lohan Career Advice
Mohammed Al Turki also explains the 2015 Oscar push for the Andrew Garfield-starring indie
Mohammed Al Turki, the Saudi film producer behind 2012's Richard Gere-starring indie hit Arbitrage and this year’s Venice favorite 99 Homes, has given advice to Lindsay Lohan, a longtime friend of his from his time living in L.A.
Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the producer said that Lohan, currently starring on stage in London’s West End with Speed-the-Plow, should immediately find herself another theater production when its run finishes.
"I was in London and have seen Speed-the-Plow. I thought her performance was great. I’m going to be very honest, I think the production wasn’t great. But I think she wasn’t the problem," he told The Hollywood Reporter.
"I think she’s incredible in it, has so much balls standing in front of an audience, and I think people will start to take her seriously again. And I think it will open doors for her to do maybe a good movie and get back on track. But as a suggestion from me to her as a friend, I told her to book another play straight after in the West End, because I think she needs to work."
99 Homes, which earned positive reviews at Venice and Toronto and on which Al Turki served as executive producer, is screening in Abu Dhabi and recently was picked up by distribution upstart Broad Green Pictures for the U.S. But the film — starring Andrew Garfield and delving into the real estate woes of post-recession America — isn’t due for release until 2015, something Al Turki says will allow time for an awards push.
"Basically, we got distribution quite late, and since the reviews have been really good, there’s not enough time to work on the  Oscars campaign. So if we wanted to be a serious contender in the race, we just had to push it back a little bit. It will be in the Oscar race, but not this year," he explained.
The film, directed by Ramin Bahrani, was produced by Hyde Park and Abu Dhabi-based Image Nation. In 2012, Arbitrage opened the Abu Dhabi Film Festival with Gere and Al Turki in attendance.
The producer, who splits his time between L.A. and the Middle East, has teamed up again with Gere for his latest drama Time Out of Mind, which had its premiere in Toronto. Like 99 Homes, the film, which sees Gere ditch the hedge fund managing job and "$2,000 haircut" from Arbitrage to portray a homeless man on the streets of New York, is also due for release in 2015, with Relatively having acquired rights.
"We’re holding that back as well because Richard’s performance is just incredible," said Al Turki, adding that he's already looking for his third film with the actor. "We’re going to continue to work together."
Al Turki says he’s also in negotiations to reunite with Arbitrage director Nicholas Jarecki, bringing him on board for the first film from his new film fund Raw Artist Vision (RAV), which he launched in March with A Hologram for the King producer Arcadiy Golubovich.
"We’re going to try do five movies a year, in the budget range of $5 million to $30 million," Al Turki said. "We’re looking at Nick Jarecki for the first. But it’s totally different from Arbitrage. It’s a period piece."