Avengers creators launch first all-Arabic Hollywood movie
Joe and Anthony Russo – the guys behind the biggest grossing movie of all time, Avenger’s Endgame – have just released a new action movie shot entirely in Arabic.
The team unveiled the film, dubbed Mosul, at the Venice Film Festival.
The film is based on the Iraqi police’s Nineveh SWAT team, who fought to take back their home city from the Islamic State. The creative duo “did not hesitate for a second” about making the film in Arabic, and even made sure the film’s actors spoke in the right Iraqi dialect.
Joe Russo said that he cried when he first read an account of the unit in a New Yorker feature. The Nineveh team is solely made up of officers who have lost family to the IS.
"I'd never read a piece of journalism and cried at the end. The plight of this team and everyone in Mosul brought me to tears. That needed to be told as authentically as possible.
"There was no other way to make it," he insisted.
When it comes to Hollywood, the Arab world is often demeaned or demonized (see any film featuring ‘terrorists’) but the producers said they wanted their film to be a ‘turning point’ in the way Muslims were portrayed on the big screen.
This is the first film to come out of the Russo Brothers studio, AGBO. According to Joe Russo, “we couldn’t be prouder of the film”.
Iraqi executive producer, Mohamed Al Daradji, said the film would help quash Hollywood stereotypes.
"I am very optimistic that this film can open the road for Hollywood to make more positive films about the Arab world and the Middle East.”
"Unfortunately we have been portrayed in a bad way for a long time. I have suffered from that, we all have had experiences from it," he told reporters.
The film features "recognizably Iraqi, Arab and Muslim... speaking just like police in Mosul do... We never have had the chance to have an Arab story shown in this positive way. By the way, we are human beings like you", he joked.
The film was shot just months after Mosul was finally retaken in December 2017. The film cast mostly Iraqis, however was shot in Morocco for security reasons.
"I'm embarrassed to admit, my country has been at war in Iraq since I was 17 and at high school. I never knew that a Nineveh SWAT team existed," said Carnahan, who also wrote "World War Z".
"They were fighting for their city, their families and sacrificing themselves for one another on a daily basis.
"They were fighting for the same things we all want: a safe city and a happy family. That, to me, cuts across all humanity regardless of the language you're speaking or the god you worship."
Anthony and Joe Russo said it was the global success of Avengers that convinced them to "find stories from every corner of the globe to bring to the rest of the world".