Kazakh-Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov’s thriller “Profile” has been completed since 2018, when it was released at the Berlin International Film Festival. But the latest film from the director of “Night Watch,” “Wanted,” and the notorious 2016 remake of “Ben Hur” is only just now getting a theatrical release — on May 14 from Focus Features. Watch the U.S. trailer for the film below.
“Profile” follows an undercover British journalist in her quest to bait and expose a terrorist recruiter through social media, while trying not to be sucked in by her recruiter and lured into becoming a militant extremist herself. The thriller is co-led by Valene Kane (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) and Shazad Latif (“Star Trek: Discovery”). “Profile” is inspired by the 2015 nonfiction bestseller “In the Skin of a Jihadist” by a French journalist who now has round-the-clock police protection and has changed her name to Anna Érelle.
Much like the Bekmambetov-produced horror movie “Unfriended,” which ended up grossing $65 million globally on a $1 million budget, “Profile” plays out entirely on a computer screen. The unconventional thriller unfolds in the Screenlife format, which also inspired the film “Searching” with John Cho and Debra Messing.
“Profile” is written by Britt Poulton (“Them That Follow”), and Timur Bekmambetov and Olga Kharina, and Bekmambetov and Kharina are the producers under the Bazelevs banner and executive producer Igor Tsay from Interface Films. “Profile” received an Audience Award at both Berlin and at SXSW.
“While the pandemic has shifted our entire lives online, with school gone remote, work meetings replaced by videocalls, and happy hours virtual, it has also raised numerous questions about our digital privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity. That makes this the best time to watch a movie like ‘Profile’ for those who have spent months in lockdown with their computer screens and who can relate to the paranoia and riskiness driven by the Internet and online technologies in a time when everyone from the terrorists to your government wants a piece of your digital exposure,” Bekmambetov said in a note to media.
The year of pandemic saw an unprecedented surge of interest in the Screenlife format. In summer 2020, Universal and Bekmambetov inked a deal to partner on another five Screenlife features in various genres. Earlier, in March, Screenlife earned Bekmambetov’s Bazelevs production company a place in Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative video companies in the world.