Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah to make Muslim family drama 

Muslim directors seldom make big in Hollywood, but this may be changing. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, two Belgian directors hailing from the Middle East, have become some of the hottest directors in Hollywood thanks to their smash hit "Bad Boys for Life"

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Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, two Belgian directors hailing from the Middle East, have become some of the hottest directors in Hollywood thanks to their smash hit Bad Boys for Life.

The movie starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is the third film in the Bad Boys film series and catapulted the director duo to fame thanks to the film becoming the biggest film of the year. Granted, the COVID pandemic is definitely a factor in that record but they were able to earn more than many tentpoles including DC’s Birds of Prey movie.

Movie on a Muslim family in the pipeline

Now, it seems the directors are tackling a slew of new projects including a movie about a Muslim family.


Entitled Rebel the movie, which premiered at a virtual Cannes presentation – an event taking place for film producers and distributors digitally instead of the usual Cannes film festival due to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

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The movie will be a type of musical feature, involving rap and dance but focused on a Muslim family’s plight after the death of the family’s patriarch. The film centers on a 13-year-old boy called Nassim who is learning the ways of the world as his mother Leila tries to keep him away from his older brother who has become a local gangster. The movie will be based in Belgium but feature the Moroccan Muslim family in lead roles.

Rebel will star Amir El Arbi in his feature film debut, alongside Aboubakr Bensaihi (Black) and Lubna Azabal (Tel Aviv on Fire, Mary Magdalene, Incendies). The directors stated:

Rebel is a true passion project,” said Adil and Bilall, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jan Van Dyck and Kevin Meul. “It is deeply personal for us to be able to tell this story about our generation, and those [who] look for identity. We’ve assembled a powerful creative team and are excited to finally bring it to the big screen.”

Superhero projects on the horizon


However, that is not all that the directors have on the slate. The two revealed recently that they’ve had discussions with rival companies Marvel and DC who produce the Avengers and Justice League films respectively, about creating a film for one of their characters.

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Speaking to the directing duo stated that although they’ve not finalized anything, they have already been courted by both major comic book franchises for big screen projects.

“So far, we also had a meeting with DC,” El Arbi stated. “Obviously, we said, ‘Hey, 30 years if there’s a new Batman, we’re still here!'”

DC vs Marvel court Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

DC is a film division of WB that has struggled to compete with the films of Disney owned Marvel. However, their recent ventures with new directors have born fruit and resulted in some well liked films. So it comes as no surprise that WB have taken a shine at these newcomers who have already been making waves in Hollywood.

What is cool is that Marvel seems to share DC’s interest. Although they didn’t meet with Marvel Studios they have managed to talk to creatives in the company about possible characters.

“We’re huge Marvel fans but it was just talking at this point,” El Arbi said. “There was nothing yet concrete. If we find something that we really love and that fits to our personality then, yeah, for sure, we go for it.

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It would be an honor to work with them. We are exploring at this point. We are looking for what is the right character, right storyline to go. If they have something, if we have something, I hope that very soon we find something and we can work with Marvel or DC, as well.”

It is important to note that Marvel is quickly expanding its Web series slate for its Disney + streaming service. The directors could in fact be good fit for the upcoming Marvel series based on the Muslim Pakistani American superhero Ms. Marvel who is all set to get her own series for the company.