Movie City News reported yesterday, that SONY Pictures Entertainment has optioned the rights to remake the violent French melodrama, A Prophet, winner of the Cannes Grand Prix Award in 2010, and an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film. The English-language version will be produced by Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe (producer of Fast and Furious, Total Recall, and the Jeff Bridges/Ryan Reynolds supernatural action flick R.I.P.D., arriving in theaters this July 19) through the Original Film banner. Jacques Audiard (last years Rust and Bone, with Marion Cotillard), directed the first version, and co-wrote the script with Thomas Bidegain, Nicloas Pentaillit, and Abdel Raunouf Dafori.
A Prophet tells the story of Malik, a 19 year old naive and impressionable petty criminal of Algerian origins. Malik is given a 6 year prison sentence for attacking police arresting him for shoplifting. He is immediately plunged into the brutal and submissive obedience laws maintained by the Corsicans and the Muslims, the two factions ruling the prison subculture. He is forced to kill or be killed, and when he chooses to kill, he is taken under the wing of Luciati, the prison’s Corsican crime boss, who becomes his mentor.
Casting is yet to begin and it will be interesting to see who will land the plum character roles.
Tahar Rahim would be an obvious contender to reprise his role as Malik. He won rave reviews for his part in the original. Tahar is of Algerian descent, but was raised in a small town in rural France and speaks fluid English. “There was nothing to do in my small town when I was growing up,” said Tahar. “I would go to the cinema 3-4 times a week. One day I thought, that could be me up there. I’m going to be an actor! My parents weren’t surprised when I left home to pursue my acting dream. They were kind of expecting it.”
One of Tahar’s first roles was on a French TV show, La Commune, written by Abdoul Rauof Darfi. Darfi penned the first draft of the script for A Prophet and suggested him to Audiard. Tahar competed for the job with hundreds of other hopefuls, but after several weeks of auditioning, he won the part.
Since A Prophet, Tahar has been busy starring in Chinese director Lou Ye’s Love and Bruises, the adaptation of Jie Liu Falin’s biography, and this May at Cannes he again won raves for his performance in Rebecca Zlotowski’s compelling drama Grand Central.
It’s not a long shot for Niels Arestrup to end up playing Luciati. He was Audiard’s first choice, having already worked with him in The Beat My Heart Skipped. In 2010, Niels starred with Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett in Joe Wright’s Hanna, and in 2011 he was a featured player in Steven Spielberg’s, War Horse.
We’ll keep you updated on future news for A Prophet.