Joe and Anthony Russo are having quite the year with Avengers: Endgame, but their success with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that much sweeter watching them take that experience and the influence it affords them to projects that might not make it to the big screen otherwise. The duo serves as producers on Mosul, a movie based on a New Yorker essay by Luke Mogelson covering the situation in war-torn Mosul. The film puts the spotlight on a Ninevah SWAT team lead by Suhail Dabbach as Major Jasem as they fight to end the bloodshed in their homeland.
With Mosul celebrating its North American Premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, the Russos and executive producer Mohamed Al-Daradji swung by the Collider Lounge to talk about their experience making a film that, as Al-Daradji put it, made history in American cinema. Give the video at the top of this article a watch to hear why they chose first time feature director Matthew Michael Carnahan to helm the film, the biggest misconceptions about Mosul they’re eager to clarify and what it means to the Russos to work on all sorts of films from Endgame to Mosul and beyond.
We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.
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You can find a full breakdown of the interview and the official TIFF synopsis for Mosul below:
Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Mohamed Al-Daradji:
- 00:18 – What made Carnahan the right person to direct the movie?
- 01:29 – How did Al-Daradji’s filmmaking experience come in handy on Mosul?
- 02:59 – What’s the biggest misconception about Mosul?
- 04:47 – Mosul is being mislabeled as an “action movie.” How are they going about getting this film in front of the most eyes in the best way?
- 05:57 – The Russos on the importance of making both blockbusters like Avengers: Endgame and smaller movies like Mosul.
- 07:05 – Mosul is making history in American cinema.
- 08:41 – Is there anything about the finished project that surprised them? Something that exceeded their expectations?
Kawa (Adam Bessa), a 21-year-old police officer, barely survives a firefight. When the smoke clears he meets the men who saved his life, the Nineveh SWAT, led by Jasem (Suhail Dabbach). Kawa’s own uncle was recently killed by ISIS. He joins the group, though they’ve been reduced to just a dozen men with three Humvees and a surplus of cigarettes. Before his first day with Nineveh SWAT is over, Kawa will witness the rescue of a child and the death of several colleagues, take revenge on a man who betrayed him, and participate in the ambush of an ISIS stronghold.