Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams to Produce Syrian Refugee Drama

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI

Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams are teaming up to turn a real-life Syrian refugee story into a feature film.

The filmmakers have secured the rights to Melissa Fleming’s bestseller A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival, according to the Wrap.

The book centers on the story of Doaa Al Zamel, a 19-year-old Syrian woman who fled Egypt and set sail for Sweden, only to be shipwrecked and forced to survive for days with nothing but an inflatable water ring secured around her waist. She also saved two children of other refugees who had been traveling with her, as they clung to her throughout the ordeal.

The project will be produced by Paramount Pictures and Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. No writer or director has yet been announced.

Spielberg and Abrams have worked together before; the E.T. director helped produce Abrams’ 2011 sic-fi thriller Super 8. Spielberg was also reportedly actively involved in getting Abrams to direct 2016’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

Both filmmakers are currently at work on other projects; Abrams is finishing God Particle — a continuation of his Cloverfield saga of sci-fi thriller films — for an October release from Paramount, while Spielberg is in post-production on his adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 sci-fi novel Ready Player One.

Spielberg also announced earlier this week that he would direct The Post, a drama about the Washington Post‘s publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are attached to star.


Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson


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