EXCLUSIVE: Disney is working on a live action fantasy and sci-fi-infused movie inspired by the classic Middle East folk tale collection, One Thousand And One Nights, aka Arabian Nights.
The Walt Disney Pictures project, currently titled 1001 Nights, is being penned and exec-produced by Arash Amel, who recently wrote well-received Disney+ movie Rise, about NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and who previously penned A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike as war correspondent Marie Colvin.
Plot details are being kept under wraps but I understand this will be an original take drawn from the ancient folk tales and will be a standalone IP, not related to any existing Disney properties such as their Aladdin franchise. Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp is one of the stories contained in the Arabian Nights collection, along with other well known stores such as Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves and The Seven Voyages Of Sinbad The Sailor. The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central and South Asia, and North Africa. Some of the stories, including Aladdin, were added in later editions.
The collection has proved fertile hunting ground for film, TV and video game producers over the years. Among directors to tackle stories have been George Méliès, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Miguel Gomes, while Disney and Guy Ritchie most recently revisited the Aladdin story in 2019 with Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari and Will Smith among cast.
LA-based Amel was born in Wales and spent his early childhood in Iran until the Iranian Revolution prompted his family’s return to the UK. Amel served as executive producer on the recent Netflix sci-fi action movie Outside The Wire, starring Anthony Mackie. He is in pre-production as a producer on Amazon Studios pic Fred & Ginger, based on his original screenplay. The musical drama will star Jamie Bell and Margaret Qualley as the icon silver screen pair, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Upcoming is the release of action-comedy Snafu (which he scripted) with Jackie Chan and John Cena, and he has Guy Ritchie pic The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare due to shoot later this year for Paramount and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
Amel is represented by Grandview, CAA, and Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP.