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Late breaking news from the film side of comics, as Variety reports that Hany Abu-Assad has signed on to direct the film adaptation of Image Comics’ Infidel for TriStar Pictures.

Abu-Assad is perhaps best known in America for his work on The Mountain Between Us, a 2017 20th Century Fox picture starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a surgeon and a journalist who end up stranded in the wilds after a disastrous plane crash. However, born to a Palestinian family in Israel and later raised in the Netherlands, most of his previous work has been produced and released abroad. His earlier work on 2005’s Paradise Now was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Later on, his 2013 film Omar won a special jury prize at the Un Certain Regard section of that year’s Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for a Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Infidel, written by Pornsak Pichetshote with art by Aaron Campbell, colors/edits by Jose Villarubia, and letters by Jeff Powell, follows Aisha, an  “American Muslim woman and her multiracial neighbors who move into a building haunted by entities that feed off xenophobia.” As Aisha struggles to adapt to living with her white partner’s daughter and his arguably micro-aggressive mother, the things that haunt this building grow worse and worse until they threaten to consume Aisha, her friends and family, and everyone else around them.

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Following on the heels of the hit film Get OutInfidel made waves for its topical approach to horror. It focuses on the grey spaces and difficult conversations that surround the issues of race in America– a topic at the forefront of much of the current western political discourse.

Several months before the hiring of Abu-Assad, the Beat spoke to Pichetshote and Campbell in an in-depth interview about the series. At the time, regarding what the pair hoped a film interpretation of Infidel would look like, Pichetshote said:

I’m curious of how they interpret it. I’m curious what they see when they look at it. So much about this book is about differing perspectives and different way people see. I’m curious how they see this book and how whoever they bring in sees this book; whether they’ll see something I didn’t. Will I agree with that? Will I not agree with that? That’s an interesting conversation, I think…

…I’m curious what they’re going to get. I’m really curious. I’m curious if they’re going to go for a person of color, I’m curious if they’re not; a Muslim, a female versus a male. There’s a lot of different ways they could play it. It’s funny, it sounds political, but I am legitimately so curious and excited to see what they do. Again, my part of it’s done, so I don’t have any vested interest in what they do. I’m just curious to see how this particular part of it gets made.

TriStar’s adaptation of Infidel will be produced by Michael Sugar and Ashley Zalta of Sugar 23 alongside Anonymous Content. Juliet Snowden and Stiles White, who previously co-wrote 2012’s The Possession, are set as screenwriters.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I certainly liked The Mountain Between Us. The concept for Infidel is reminiscent of a fairly recent Iranian film though, Out of the Shadow.
    That had an embodiment manifesting in a tenement, of all the ill-feeling present due to the surveilling/dobbing by people, implicitly because of the religious surveillance in the wake if the Iranian Revolution. Worth a look, and maybe a case of influencing the creation of the comic, I don’t know for sure (haven’t researched years of production; and it doesn’t matter, as everything influences another, and a piece of art has to ultimately stand on its own – I’d just be interested to know, and I think it might be likely given an Islamic/Arabic through-line of connection.

    Horror in film is a common enough way of exploring something, in its subtexts (or not so subtexts), but still entertains, often or either in its subtlety or ambiguity.

  2. …and it was a Persian-language, international co-production (outside of Iran I think) rather than a movie from Iran (pays to research before I post; but it makes sense, because its horror subtext is so critical of Revolutionary Iran, and I reflected on that at the time. just never looked it up

  3. I’ll definitely see Infidel because I liked The Mountain Between Us so much. That director’s top-notch. Under the Shadow is extremely good, and so well done. Pleasure to share, Alex.

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