‘Desert Warrior’, which started filming in September in Saudi Arabia's smart city Neom, is being touted as the Kingdom’s first tentpole movie.
MBC Studios, the production arm of MBC Group has partnered with the US-based JB Pictures and AGC Studios to produce Desert Warrior, an action-thriller feature film set in seventh century Arabia.
MBC Studios’ biggest ever film production to date, Desert Warrior is also the first tentpole film to be shot at Neom in KSA, marking a new milestone for MBC Group this year.
The first international feature film to be shot at Neom is supported by the Neom Media Industries Sector, with major productions being a catalyst for the development of the regional media industries epicentre at Neom.
The international title – which has just commenced filming in Neom and Tabuk in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) – features Anthony Mackie (Avengers: Endgame, The Banker) and Aiysha Hart (Mogul Mowgli, Colette).
Joining them are Sharlto Copley (District 9), Ghassan Massoud (Kingdom of Heaven), Sami Bouajila (Hors-la-loi), Lamis Ammar (Sand Storm, Sirens), Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul, To Dust), and Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Iron Man 3).
British director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) helms the film from a screenplay, he co-penned with Erica Beeney (Captive State), David Self (The Road to Perdition), and Academy Award nominee Gary Ross (The Hunger Games).
Desert Warrior is produced by Jeremy Bolt (Resident Evil franchise) of JB Pictures.
Zeinab Abu Alsamh, General Manager of MBC Studios KSA, said: “MBC Studios is proud to be working with such world-class talent across the board on Desert Warrior; it is a testament to our ambition towards producing premium content for global audiences. Desert Warrior is a tale of adventure, with a fierce female hero at the forefront of the story. We hope the story will connect with audiences of all ages worldwide. Rupert Wyatt is a visionary filmmaker, and Jeremy Bolt has already proven his mettle in steering this epic project into production. The cast is a dream come true… A mix of Arab and non-Arab talent coming together to create an unforgettable movie and highlighting the rich culture we have here. This is the beginning of having Saudi be a production hub for local and global films.”
JB Pictures’ Bolt added: “Desert Warrior will give audiences a ringside seat to one of the most dramatic and consequential battles in history. Spectacular action and great bravery set against stunning mountainous desert landscapes.”
Wayne Borg, Managing Director, Media Industries at Neom stated: “Attracting a production of the scale of Desert Warrior as our first feature film highlights the confidence the film industry has in our ability to deliver a seamless production experience. Our fresh and diverse locations, world-class production team and attractive incentives make Neom a very appealing destination for screen production.”
Anthony Mackie is represented by UTA and Inspire Entertainment. Aiysha Hart is represented by Curtis Brown and 42. Rupert Wyatt is represented by UTA.
Desert Warrior is set in the early seventh century, when Arabia was made up of rival, feuding tribes, disunited and forever at each other’s throats. Emperor Kisra (Kingsley) has a fearsome reputation for being utterly ruthless. But when the Arabian Princess Hind (Hart) refuses to become Kisra’s concubine, the stage is set for an epic confrontation. It is a battle that, by its conclusion, will have changed the region forever and echo throughout history.
Filming for Desert Warrior commenced on September 12, 2021. It is expected to continue for three months.
AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of AGC Studios, will handle worldwide sales.