The name of the director is in suspense but one of Hollywood's finest will produce the first Emirati scary movie that will have an international release. But first, they have to cast it.
Imagenation Abu Dhabi to create The Jinn and scare the world
Al AIN // The jinn, which means demon or genie in Arabic, are at the core of regional belief in the supernatural - a creepy concept that has become the basis for the first feature-length Emirati horror film.
Imagenation, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company created in 2008 as a feature film production house, has teamed up with a yet-to-be announced Hollywood director to produce The Jinn. The production, which was this week casting in Dubai, hopes to draw the cast from the UAE, the Arab world and the US. Filming is set to begin in the UAE some time during the first three months of 2011 and is expected to take two months to complete.
"The Jinn follows the life of a couple as they arrive back to the UAE, experiencing strange and unexplained things that lead them to discover things about their past," said Rami Yasin, the head of production at Imagenation and one of the producers.
"The film is in Arabic with some English in it. Casting has begun in the UAE, Cairo, Amman and the US for Emirati and Arab characters and an American one, generally representative of the natural character and make-up of UAE society."
According to Mr Yasin, this is the first Emirati horror movie to be made to such a large scale.
Producers want to keep the identity of the Hollywood director secret until the film is officially announced to the national and international press on January 3.
"I can say that he is one of Hollywood's horror genre masters," said Daniella Tully, Imagenation's vice-president of development and a producer of the film.
She said Imagenation is aiming for The Jinn to have an international release.
"Unlike a comedy that could be seen as funny by a certain segment of viewers, horror movies cross borders easily because people all around the world are afraid of the same things," Ms Tully said.
The movie, which was scripted by the American screenwriter David Tully, aims to explore the jinn as they are known in Islam, she said.
"The black jinn are the evil ones so the film will be about them, not the white Jinn," she said. "The film will be scary in the same way that Rosemary's Baby and The Shining were. It will be creepy and have an ambience of fear but without bloody scenes such as those in Saw."
A mufti at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments explained the Muslim belief that humans are created from Earth while the jinn are created from fire and have the ability to wreak havoc with humans.
"They are spiritual beings, not material ones so they are able to fly and pass through walls," he said. "They are not angels that are created from light, but from fire. Where angels are believers, jinn can be believers and non-believers and all are held accountable in front of Allah for their actions.
"There are good jinn and evil ones who cause havoc in the lives of humans. They can take any shape and can be mischievous and have the ability to hurt humans and effect their lives. They prefer abandoned and dirty places and can be conjured, but this goes against the teachings of Allah. They are frightful creatures."
Casting for the film in the UAE is being held at Take One Dubai in Studio City. Those interested in auditioning are asked to visit www.take-onedubai.com.
For a video of the casting process, visit www.thenational.ae/multimedia