Universal Eyes ARABIAN KNIGHTS for Brian Grazer

     May 16, 2011

aladdin-palace-slice

Universal is in final negotiations to pick up Arabian Knights for producers Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins (Flight Plan) of Imagine Entertainment.  The story, conceived by Kyle Ward, will assume a revisionist take on the Middle Eastern folk tales collected in One Thousand and One Nights (often called Arabian Nights in English).  Plot details are under wraps, but Variety clarifies that Arabian Knights with a “K” will be “radically different” from the FilmDisrtict project Arabian Nights that stars Liam Hemsworth.  (The latter is more traditional, to the extent that a Hollywood action movie starring a Hemsworth brother can be deemed “traditional.”) Arabian Knights is currently housed at Blacklight Transmedia, a c0mpany that specializes in multimedia properties.  The Wrap suggests Blacklight will develop a graphic novel, video game, and book series to accompany the feature film.

This will make the second spec script Ward sold to Universal after Fiasco Heights, which teams a hitman with a private eye “in search of a missing woman and an invaluable briefcase.”  Otherwise, it’s all video game adaptations for Ward: Kane & Lynch at Lionsgate, Hitman 2 at Fox, and Devil May Cry at Screen Gems.

Read more about One Thousand and One Nights after the jump.  (One jump ahead of the breadline, if you will.)

one-thousand-and-one-arabian-nights-book-cover

The main frame story concerns a Persian king and his new bride. He is shocked to discover that his brother’s wife is unfaithful; discovering his own wife’s infidelity has been even more flagrant, he has her executed: but in his bitterness and grief decides that all women are the same. The king, Shahryar, begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. Eventually the vizier, whose duty it is to provide them, cannot find any more virgins. Scheherazade, the vizier’s daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion, postpones her execution once again. So it goes on for 1,001 nights.

The tales vary widely: they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and various forms of erotica. [Wikipedia]

Disney’s Aladdin is the most famous movie based on the Arabian Nights stories (and comprises the whole of my knowledge). Many of the cinematic depictions of Sinbad the Sailor —  including the Ray Harryhausen trilogy The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) — likewise find their origins in One Thousand and One Nights.

There is a Hanna Barbera cartoon titled Arabian Knights.  Perhaps the first episode can offer come clues about Ward’s inclusion of the “K”:

Umm… nope.

Look, Aladdin!

one-thousand-and-one-nights-painting

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