Zoe Saldana On For ISIS Drama Sabaya

Zoe Saldana

by James White |
Published on

The wider world's attention focused on the Islamic State again last month when US special forces killed its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But years before that, a raid had started to help damage the terrorist organisation, and the intel that launched it will be documented in a new fact-based thriller called Sabaya, with Zoe Saldana on to star.

Reed Morano's in the director's chair for this one, working from a script by William Monahan. Saldana will play a female CIA officer who befriended a recently escaped ISIS sex slave, or “sabaya.” The 15-year-old Yazidi girl can neither read nor write, but as she works with the teen to piece together her harrowing odyssey out of Syria, the CIA officer finds that the abused girl has pinpointed the nerve center of the Caliphate. The subsequent dramatic raid on the site of the young woman’s captivity results in the capture of intelligence that would spell the end of the Islamic State.

"It is an honor to be a part of the telling of this story," Saldana tells Deadline. "This young woman’s journey is one for the books, and I am beyond grateful we will get to immortalize it on the silver screen."

According to Moreno, the story is "a larger than life epic but it’s also an intimate, raw portrait of a young girl’s determination and the bond that forms between these two women. I’ve not seen such a mind-blowing adventure that is simultaneously so emotionally transcendent, from these perspectives before. I’m thrilled to be telling this powerful story with the incredible Bill and Zoe."

There's no release date set for the film yet, but it could arrive before Saldana returns to our screens in Avatar 2, due in 2021.

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