The book-to-film adaptation is a well-worn, but fraught, path. It’s a path lined with all sorts of possible bogeymen: sensitive authors, vociferous fans, opinionated scholars and maybe even meddling producers, pushing for sunnier (and/or cheaper) endings. There will always be authors who feel their work was done an injustice and readers who feel the book was not served by the film.
Andrew Knight and Osamah Sami have chosen to tackle this problem in an unusual way. The book, Good Muslim Boy (written by Osamah) and its film incarnation, Ali's Wedding (written by Andrew), were developed separately but simultaneously. Both projects tell the story of Osamah’s journey from Iran to the suburbs of Australia and his efforts to meet the expectations of family, faith and new friends. The pair will discuss their experiences working on Good Muslim Boy, their thoughts on adaptations in general and whether this structure of simultaneous adaptation could work on other projects.
Osamah Sami is a failed cricketer and a struggling Muslim. As a writer, he has completed two feature films (Ali’s Wedding – a Muslim romantic comedy based on his book Good Muslim Boy, and Be Less Beautiful, filming in 2016). He has also written a vague number of plays; co‐created a developed eight episode sitcom Baghdad to the Burbs; co‐created the web series 2 Refugees & a Blonde and keeps an unpopular blog, Halal Aussie Daily.
On stage he has performed for Belvoir St Theatre, Big West, La Mamma, Melbourne Theatre Company, Theatre@Risk and over two dozen other independent shows. Osamah also played the title role in Saddam the Musical, which got him deported from the US – having been mistaken for a terrorist. In fairness, he does barrack for the Essendon Bombers.
Andrew Knight is considered the busiest man in film and television. He is currently writing series four of Rake, producing and writing a six-part series of Jack Irish and has written four feature films in four different countries. He is the winner of the 2014 Longford Lyell Award, the Australian Film Industry’s highest honour.