The thinkpieces can’t come fast enough: Lena Dunham has been tapped by co-producers Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams to adapt Syrian refugee story A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival, per Variety. Dunham also confirmed the news in a Twitter post.
Based on a book by Melissa Fleming, the chief spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner, A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea follows the true story of Doaa Al Zamel, a Syrian refugee and mother of two who was shipwrecked while fleeing Egypt for Sweden by boat. Al Zamel survived for days in open water with only the support of an inflatable water ring, holding her two children in her arms.
The forthcoming project will mark the controversial Girls creator-director-star’s first time adapting an established work for the big screen. Dunham broke out with the semi-autobiographical 2010 film Tiny Furniture, which she wrote, directed and starred in during her early twenties, shortly after graduating from Oberlin College. Dunham and Girls showrunner Jenni Konner co-created HBO’s Camping, which is based on a British series of the same name and currently airs on the network. Next year, Dunham is also set to appear in Quentin Tarantino’s star-studded Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
As always, takes are sure to fly on Dunham’s latest project. “Lena Dunham to Adapt Syrian Refugee Story” reads like a particularly bizarre result from the 2018 headline generator, although one Twitter user predicted the news as far back as 2016.
A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is being set up at Paramount Pictures, with Abram’s Bad Robot and Spielberg’s Amblin Partners producing, and Arif Hussein as executive producer. Amblin and Paramount are expected to co-distribute the title globally. The project does not currently have a director attached.