As part of their first-look deal with 20th Century Fox, the Russo Brothers, who are busy directing a pair of Avengers sequels for Marvel, have acquired film rights to the adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. The novel is currently a worldwide best seller, was a selection for the Man Booker Prize, and is a part of many secondary schools’ required reading list. According to Deadline, the Russo Brothers have already tapped Passengers director Morten Tyldum to helm the project, as part of another first look deal that the pair have with the filmmaker.
Exit West follows a pair of young refugees and sheds light on a prominent and ongoing issue within our global social, economic, and political climate today. The novel takes place in an unidentified country that is being violently plagued by a brewing crisis between the local government and a group of guerillas. After their mother is killed by a stray bullet, young Saeed and Nadia flee their home along with many other migrants in pursuit of safe havens, which manifest in the story behind safely guarded doors. Behind each door is a new far away place. The pair find themselves at one point on the Greek Island of Mykonos, then in London, and also in California’s Marin County. The story focuses largely on the dichotomy between the refugees’ day-to-day struggles for food and shelter and the privileged locals’ resistant attitudes toward their presence.
This is a major grab for the Brothers, who will be producing the film under their still in-development production banner. Tyldum, although producing one of last year’s greatest duds in Passengers, is also Oscar-nominated for The Imitation Game. Tyldum is no stranger to adaptations and socio-political drama, which makes him a great choice for Exit West. According to Joe and Anthony Russo, Tyldum is “an incredibly talented filmmaker, and we couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with him.” Likewise, Tyldum has expressed that the feeling is mutual, saying in a statement, “Joe and Anthony are phenomenal storytellers with a bold and unique vision for their company and the kind of films they and their team want to produce. As a filmmaker, it feels like coming home.”