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Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions and Riz Ahmed are teaming to tackle Exit West, an adaptation of the best-seller by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid being developed by Netflix.
Ahmed is in negotiations to star and executive produce, while Higher Ground is producing the feature, joining Joe and Anthony Russo’s AGBO, which has been working on an adaptation since 2017. Yann Demange, who helmed the dramas White Boy Rick and ’71, is being courted to direct.
The novel is about a young couple, Saeed and Nadia, living in an unnamed city amid a civil war who flee using a system of magical doors that lead to different locations around the globe.
Ahmed would play Saeed in what is described as a love story with elements of fantasy and magical realism.
No writer is on board at this stage.
Higher Ground is sitting pretty after its documentary American Factory, made with Participant Media, won the Oscar for best doc feature at this year’s Academy Awards.
Ahmed is coming off the Berlin International Film Festival premiere of Mogul Mowgli, a drama he co-wrote and starred in, and which won a FIPRESCI prize at the fest. Last September, the rock drama Sound of Metal, starring Ahmed and directed by Darius Marder, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was acquired by Amazon Studios. The movie is set to roll out theatrically Aug. 14.
Ahmed, who has also appeared in the blockbusters Venom and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is repped by WME, Gordon & French.
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