Netflix’s February announcement of its first-ever Arabic original series made headlines all over the region. The move caught everyone by surprise, leaving all of us eager to binge watch.
The good news is—the wait is soon to be over. The series has officially began shooting. Spearheaded by Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya (who is known for directing the box office hit ‘Very Big Shot), production began in Amman, Jordan—and by the looks on the snapshot shared on Instagram, the all-Arab cast is excited to start filming.
“With Jinn, we aim to create a fantastical show about young people in the Middle East in Arabic that’s real, authentic and action-packed,” said Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series for Netflix.
The six-episode series is set to be shot over the next few months in 12 locations around Jordan—naturally the sites inculde the ultra-scenic Petra and Wadi Rum.
Entitled Jinn, the supernatural drama follows the story of a group of young Arab teenagers, exploring “contemporary themes of Jinn mythology with a coming of age supernatural story about friendship, love and adventure.”
For those unfamiliar with the mythology, Jinns are supernatural creatures, or better yet, spirits or demons commonly referenced in Arab culture—and are even mentioned in the ultra-classic folk tale, One Thousand and One Nights (including the story of Aladdin).
Produced by Lebanese independent film company, Kabreet Productions, and written by Theeb writer, Bassel Ghandour, the story is set to be an authentic portrayal of teenagerhood, friendship, and mysticism—played by a cast chockful of newcomers.
Salma Malhas is set to play the leading role of Mira, a teen with a rebellious spirit, and still reconciling with her mother’s death. Mira’s life takes a turn after meeting Keras—played by Hamza Abu Eqab—who in a bizarre twist is a Jinn tasked with guarding vigilante Jinns. Sultan Al Khalil is also part of the cast, playing Yassin—a youngster who believes that everything in the world is set out to work against him. As the series plays out, Yassin’s role becomes all that more intriguing, as his supernatural friendship with a Jinn named Vera (played by Aysha Shahalthough) blossoms.
Aside from its interesting plot, the enthusiasm surrounding the series is largely due to the way in which it’s breaking barriers on the home front.
And according to the show’s executive producer Rajeev Dassani, its positive impact when it comes to representation is already in play, “Creating Netflix’s first Arabic Original, and one of the first teen-focused shows ever from the Arab world, has been an unforgettable experience. We’ve had so many local teens tell us they’ve never seen themselves accurately represented on screen, and it is both our pleasure and our responsibility to bring that to them and, in doing so, showcase all that the region has to offer.”