Interview With ‘Mosul’ Writer-Director Matthew Michael Carnahan

Interview With ‘Mosul’ Writer-Director Matthew Michael Carnahan

Having just made the highest-grossing film in history with Avengers: Endgame and earning their spot among the most successful filmmakers in cinema history, Joe and Anthony Russo have now produced a film that reminds Western audiences the war the started in Iraq 16 years ago is still being fought today. Written and directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Mosul is based on an article from The New Yorker and tells the true story of an Iraqi SWAT team fighting ISIS across the war-torn city. Suhail Dabbach stars in “Mosul” Source: AGBO, Conde Nast Entertainment Mosul is Carnahan’s first time directing a film, having previously written screenplays for several films including State of Play , World War Z , Deepwater Horizon , and the upcoming 21 Bridges (also produced by the Russos). I had the opportunity to speak with Carnahan about Mosul ., including what drew him to the project, the choices made for casting and keeping it entirely Arabic-language, and how the cast were given latitude to develop their characters and dialogue to make the roles their own. Mark Hughes: You insisted the film be in Arabic, which is obviously the right decision, but a lot of filmmakers and studios would’ve tried to have everyone speak English for the benefit of western audiences. Can you talk about that choice, and whether it was a fast, simple decision or was there some back and forth about doing it that way? Matthew Michael Carnahan: It was kind of an immediate reaction I had reading that article [ by Luke Mogelson for The New Yorker ]. The thing that struck me about the article first and foremost was my own blind spot, and how little I actually knew about Iraq and the people in it. We’ve been at war with that country in some way, shape, or form since I was a senior in high school – that was the first Desert Storm. But until I read Luke’s article, I hadn’t fathomed that guys like the SWAT team existed. And it’s embarrassing to admit that you have that wide of a blind spot. So I immediately thought, “My god, I have to do this. I have to write it, I have to direct it, and it has to be in some version of their mother tongue. We landed on Baghdad dialect Arabic, because the Mosulian dialect is very peculiar to Northern Iraq, to that region of the world, and one of our language advisers described it as the difference between Cajun English and California English. So, to be as broadly appealing to that region as possible, we landed on Baghdad dialect Arabic. And it wasn’t even a discussion. I read the article, and I talked to Joe and Anthony [Russo] immediately after. I told them, “I think this has to be a film, I think it has to be in Arabic.” They not only didn’t hang up – and when the conversation continues after that, you know you’re in with great people – […]

Full article on original web page… www.forbes.com

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