Tobe Hooper to Direct Arabian Horror Flick DJINN [Updated]

     February 28, 2011

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Tobe Hooper (1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is set to direct the Arabian horror film Djinn.  David Tully penned the script which “young Emirati couple who return home from the U.S. and discover that their new apartment in a luxury high-rise built on the site of an abandoned fishing village is also home to malevolent beings known as Djinn.”  This is why you should never feel silly to ask a realtor about the “Djinn situation.”

Imagenation Abu Dhabi will produce and that shooting is scheduled to begin in the United Arab Emirates this March.  Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja will work with Hooper as a “cultural consultant” and train with him as she prepares to direct her own feature length horror film.  Hooper’s last feature film was 2005’s Mortuary.  [Update: You can now check out the full press release after the jump.]

tobe-hooper-01Here’s the press release:

GENRE MASTER TOBE HOOPER TAKES THE HELM OF IMAGENATION ABU DHABI’S ARABIAN HORROR DJINN

Abu Dhabi, February 28th 2011: The Master of Horror — Tobe Hooper — the director behind the legendary classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as well as the three-time Academy Award-nominated, Steven Spielberg-produced Poltergeist, will helm Imagenation Abu Dhabi’s Arabian horror film DJINN. Penned by U.S writer David Tully (Hepzibah), this unique new take on the haunted house thriller uncovers the dark truth behind classic fairytales of the Genie. DJINN tells the nightmarish story of a young Emirati couple who return home from the U.S. and discover that their new apartment in a luxury high-rise built on the site of an abandoned fishing village is also home to the malevolent beings known as Djinn.

DJINN, which was announced at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is scheduled to begin shooting in the UAE March 20th. Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja, behind the short films Once, Arabana, and Malal (premiering at the Dubai International Film Festival this month), will work as a cultural consultant on DJINN. Khaja will shadow Hooper on the set and train with him in preparation to helm her first feature length horror film.

Tobe Hooper said: “The horror genre speaks an international language and I am so pleased to be involved in a project with Imagenation Abu Dhabi that will transcend cultures and borders. Simply put, this movie will scare everyone, no matter where you live or what you believe in!”

Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman Elect of Imagenation Abu Dhabi, said: “We are very proud to have Tobe on board for Djinn; he is a pioneer and legend in the horror genre. With our second production, Imagenation Abu Dhabi continues to work toward its promise of helping to develop the Abu Dhabi film industry, by bringing international talent and expertise into the region and of producing commercially viable and distinctly Arab stories for a global audience.”

As one of the producers, Imagenation Abu Dhabi Vice President of Development Daniela Tully continued: “From the very beginning, Tobe was at the top of our list to take the reign of this project. The horror genre has rarely been explored in this region, and Tobe’s involvement will not only leave a lasting impact in the Arab world, but will also carry Djinn into international markets. Combining this highly original story, and its new breed of bogeyman with Tobe’s outstanding directing skill, this production has huge potential to initiate a new horror wave globally, much as Asian cinema did a decade ago.”

Hooper is a director, writer and producer best known for his work in the horror genre, with credits that include the Emmy-nominated Stephen King adaptation Salem’s Lot, several episodes for Showtime’s Masters of Horror, The Funhouse, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, Invaders from Mars, and the Toolbox Murders.  Hooper will soon add author to his dossier when his novel, MIDNIGHT MOVIE, co-written with Alan Goldsher, is published next year by Random House.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi is focused on establishing the foundations and infrastructure for a vibrant and enduring Arabic film industry, by developing collaborative relationships with the region’s talent, and developing films based around strong, commercial and traditional Arabic stories. Their Emirati slate includes six very diverse films, in addition to Djinn: the coming of age story Sea Shadow (which recently wrapped principal photography in Abu Dhabi); the drama Million’s Poet; the adventure comedy Alaska; the romantic comedy Monsoon; and the romance Alis and Aishas.

Hooper is repped by Gersh and Prolific while Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson negotiated the deal on his behalf.  Wendy Heller negotiated on behalf of Imagenation Abu Dhabi.

About Imagenation Abu Dhabi

Launched in 2008 as a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), Imagenation Abu Dhabi has rapidly become one of the world’s leading feature film producers, playing an instrumental role in the development of a film industry in the United Arab Emirates.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi develops, finances and produces Arabic and international features which offer fresh perspectives, have universal appeal and tell compelling stories that inspire, enlighten and entertain.

The company has formed strategic international partnerships to develop those stories with a range of high profile producers, including Participant Media, National Geographic Films, Hyde Park Entertainment, Parkes /Macdonald Productions, Warner Bros., and Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA). Together they are producing commercial films and content that opens a unique window to the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In addition, Imagenation Abu Dhabi partnered with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment – co- financing video games such as: SpeedRacer: The Videogame, Fear 2: Project Origin, Looney Tunes Acme Arsenal, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, and Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi’s feature films include the Bollywood hit My Name is Khan, The Crazies, Shorts, and Furry Vengeance, as well as an upcoming slate including Peter Weir’s The Way Back, Doug Liman’s Fair Game, and Jodie Foster’s The Beaver.

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