Thursday, June 14, 2007

Luma Mufleh's Life Story Creates Hollywood Bidding War

Meet Luma Mufleh. She's the woman in red YMCA jersey. Mufleh is a 31 year old Jordan born woman who was the focus of a New York Times article last January.

Mufleh is the founder and coach of the Fugees soccer team. The Fugees started three years ago as a soccer team for refugee boys in the Clarkston, Georgia area. Mufleh, realizing the needs for her team were unique, began mentoring her soccer players as well as beginning after-school opportunities to learn and do their homework.

Warren St. John's New York Times article created quite a stir in Hollywood. Early on Mark Roybal, president of Scott Rudin productions wrote in an e-mail: "Today's article is probably one of the best pieces of journalism we have read in years." (via wsj)

The studio melee began almost as soon as the story was published, with bids coming in from DreamWorks, spearheaded by Steven Spielberg; Columbia and producer Mark Gordon; the Walt Disney Co. and Scott Rudin; Nick Movies; Sidney Kimmel; and the Weinstein Co., among others.

The inital bid was $25,000 and in the end Universal won out with a 2.25 million dollar bid, with half million going to Mufleh. Scott Stuber, Mary Parent, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy will be producing. Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center) is currently the screenwriter of the film, who is suspected to wait until Warren St. John finishes a book on The Fugees before she pens the film script.

With this story already being an expensive film with powerful behind the scenes names attached, who will play Mufleh? Will any other big names be cast? Only Mufleh sold her life story, so the rest of the kids and families on the soccer team will be generic, and not based off of actual people.

Also, they will probably cast someone in a semi-villainous role as the Mayor of Clarkston, Georgia. Mayor Lee Swaney (right) received a lot of heat in the New York Times article as he tried to ban soccer from the fields were Mufleh and her team practiced. (The mayor's greeting on the city webpage is solely about this issue).

My first thought on who could play the role of Mufleh at this point (based off the picture above) is Keisha Castle-Hughes, although she might be just a little too young.

sources: cinematical, Risky Biz Blog, WSJ, NY Times and Fugees Family)

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1 comment:

Fox said...

Not that I think it would be a good match, but I can see the studios wanting someone like Natalie Portman.

OR, they may just throw out Mufleh's Middle Eastern features altogether and cast someone like Hillary Swank!