“Succession” star Hiam Abbass will play a role that is the polar opposite of Marcia Roy in French-Lebanese director Danielle Arbid’s age-gap drama “Love Conquers All.”
The Palestinian actor — who in the HBO series played the third and final wife of billionaire Logan Roy — will next star as Susan, a 65-year-old impoverished widow living in Beirut. There, she meets Osman, a young Sudanese immigrant worker without papers. They instantly fall in love.
More from Variety
The “Love Conquers All” project is being shopped in Saudi Arabia at the Red Sea Film Festival co-production platform Red Sea Souk by producers Georges Schoucair and Omar El Kadi, who say this could be the first feature Abbass will appear in after “Succession.”
The idea is that, while in “Succession” Abbass plays the shrewd wife of a very rich man, in “Love Conquers All” “the protagonists are both poor,” El Kadi told Variety. “What Danielle wants to avoid is to have a relationship driven by vested interests. Him being with her because she is rich, or she being with him because he is young and for sex. Instead, it’s pure and naive love.”
Paris-based actor Amine Benrachid (“La Voix Des Autres”) plays Osman.
“She’s Palestinian, born in Lebanon, twice his age, forgotten in her well-ordered existence. They instantly fall in love,” Arbid said in her director’s statement. Unable to marry because of his illegal status, Osman moves in with Susan. And that’s when the obstacles begin. “The couple is shunned — their love has everyone up in arms. Susan’s children, her neighbors, her co-workers, strangers in the street… Everyone is scandalized by their relationship,” Arbid added.
“The same people who threw the country into a civil war now stand there, judging, even if the community later realizes how much they need the couple. Will it last? Will Susan be able to overcome the trials and tribulations of her struggle against society? Will Osman, tempted to continue on to Europe, stay with Susan? The ambition of this film is to marry the poetry of this couple with the bleakness of their world — and of our own,” the director continued.
Arbid’s latest film “Passion Simple,” which played at Cannes in 2020, tracks an emotionally toxic but physically combustible relationship between a Parisian academic and her mercurial – and married – Russian paramour. Their relationship begins to curdle when one party shows more than carnal interest in the other.
“Love Conquers All” is being co-produced by Georges Schoucair’s Beirut-based Abbout Productions in tandem with El Kadi and Nadia Turincev’s Paris-based Easy Riders Films. The plan is for shooting to start next fall with a spring 2025 delivery date.
Best of Variety