Via his production company The Combine, actor Jeremy Renner is reportedly developing a political drama titled Somali, which will center on a man without the necessary experience who is unexpectedly appointed Prime Minister of Somalia, but who eventually realizes that his ascension into the powerful position was entirely manufactured, and he’s really meant to be a puppet/patsy for those who were responsible for his appointment. However, the planned order of events takes a turn when the man decides to actually fulfill his role as Prime Minister, taking on the various ills that the country suffers in an effort to rebuild his newfound homeland.
No word on whether Renner plans to star in the film as well, although I would assume not. The current Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, will likely have something to say about the project, assuming it becomes a reality (as will the rest of Somalia).
At first reading this, it seemed like an odd project for Renner to take on; but as Tracking Board notes, the actor has long been involved in humanitarian activism, specifically outside the United States, in countries undergoing sociopolitical and economical upheaval, and this project just might be an extension of that passion.
The majority of films about Somalia released in recent years have focused almost exclusively on the so-called “Somali Piracy phenomenon.” And although I usually frown on what I feel are very limited depictions of life in African countries on film (war, famine, corruption, disease, etc – and I certainly don’t deny that these issues exist; there’s just a lot more to the continent than the media shows), I’m curious to know more about what Renner might be cooking up here. What we know of the premise thus far certainly reads as refreshingly different from other films about Somalia we’ve been *treated* to thus far.