x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Could One Direction's Harry Styles be heading to the UAE as Romeo?

An Abu Dhabi production company is rumoured to be planning a Romeo and Juliet film starring Harry Styles, Lily Collins, Jack Black, John Travolta, Imelda Staunton and Kylie Minogue.

Picture the scene: Romeo, played by One Direction’s Harry Styles no less, is secretly marrying Juliet (Lily Collins) in a service given by Friar Lawrence, naturally played by Jack Black. Meanwhile, John Travolta is stomping about as Lord Capulet, Imelda Staunton is nearby doing her best Nurse impressions and Kylie Minogue is setting off people’s dreams as the fairy-like Queen Mab. Oh, and this is all being filmed in the UAE.

Sounds implausible? Well, these are the plans of an Abu Dhabi production company, which is also looking to bring Stephen Woolfenden – who worked on four Harry Potter films – as the director for a project estimated to cost more than £20 million (Dh110m).

S4K’s Romeo and Juliet, as the project is being called, will be based on the stage play by the UK’s Shakespeare 4 Kids, which has toured extensively, including stops in Abu Dhabi and Dubai early last year, and will apparently start shooting in December.

“After they came here for the theatre show, the producer Julian [Chenery] said that Romeo and -Juliet was going to be a big movie and he chose the UAE,” says Akram Sabry of Sky Events, which put on the stage show. Akram, who will be the executive producer on the film production, added that the Abu Dhabi-based media production zone twofour54 is also involved.

Sabry says that the S4K producers in the UK are currently looking to secure the cast and that all those who have been contacted – including Harry Styles – are “all very -excited”.

While it might be worth waiting until things are a little more concrete before we start painting our “Marry me, Harry” posters, we’d like to throw our two cents into the ring and suggest that Dubai’s Mercato Mall could make a mean Verona.

aritman@thenational.ae