The cinematic landscape is awash with adaptations of Stephen King‘s body of work; his masterful craft has and continues to inspire filmmakers. King‘s far and wide-reaching influence continues to spread, as we are now learning via Variety that one of the prolific author’s short stories is being adapted for the first time in a foreign language. Per the report, Aladdin star Mena Massoud is part of the producing team behind the Farsi language project, titled The Last King.
The Last King is adapted from King‘s short story, The Doctor’s Case, one of his lesser-known thriller stories. The Doctor’s Case is King‘s Sherlock Holmes murder mystery about a murdered father in a locked room, where the only suspects are members of his family. The adaptation will be the world’s first Iranian adaptation of a Stephen King story. Variety reveals that the film is set in Iran and reflects the country’s ongoing “Woman, Life, Freedom” revolution that has frequented international headlines as Iranian women continue to resist the government and press home their demands for gender equality.
The Last King will feature a completely Iranian cast, including Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani, Sheila Ommi from Apple TV‘s Tehran, Marshall Manesh, Shiva Negar (The Cleaning Lady), Peter Banifaz, Nazanin Nour, and Tara Grammy, among others. Massoud will be producing the film under his Press Play Productions banner, which he co-founded with producing partner Ali Mashayekhi with the objective of bridging the gap between Hollywood and the Middle East and North Africa. Mashayekhi had won the rights to the story via King‘s Dollar Baby program, where the author grants aspiring filmmakers, students, and theater producers the rights to his works for a $1 fee.
The Last King will be the second time that King‘s The Doctor’s Case, published in 1987, will be adapted into a film. The first adaptation of the story came in a 2018 film of the same name from film director James Douglas as an independent Canadian adaptation. The latest news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that J.J Abrams is currently adapting King’s novel Billy Summers.
Massoud and Mashayekhi teamed up to establish Press Play Productions in an effort to fill the rising need for diverse stories from the MENA region, especially as top streaming platforms have expanded to the territory. The Last King is only one of the company’s latest slate of productions, which also includes Spaceman, In Broad Daylight, and Evolving Vegan.
“In the 1970s, Egypt was the third-largest film industry in the world and continues to cultivate a rich and thriving industry for the whole region,” Massoud said. ““Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, and now Saudi Arabia are all breeding grounds for some of the best content in and around the African continent. Press Play will be a driving force in bringing those stories to the West. We have some really exciting projects releasing this year and in the pipeline, and I’m thrilled to be bridging the gap between the MENA region and Hollywood.”
The Last King is slated to make its entrance into the festival circuit later this year.