Haifaa Al-Mansour Set to Adapt Popular YA Novel ‘The Selection’ for Netflix

Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker is working on a new project for Netflix.
Haifaa Al-Mansour
Haifaa Al-Mansour
Michelle Quance for IndieWire

Haifaa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, is adapting the popular young adult novel “The Selection” into a Netflix film.

“The Selection,” written by Kiera Cass, centers on America Singer, a young girl in a dystopian future where she and dozens of other women are relocated to a palace and compete for a prince’s affections. The novel was a critical success that spawned four spin-offs.

The film will be executive produced by Margaret French Isaac, with Denise Di Novi and Pouya Shahbazian serving as executive producers. Netflix confirmed the news to IndieWire but casting and a release date are still unknown.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the brilliant Haifaa Al-Mansour and our friends at Netflix on this special film,” Shahbazian said in a statement. “Having worked on some very high profile book adaptations, I’ve never before seen the fervor & passion that ‘The Selection’ fans have for the adaptation of Kiera Cass’ book series to film.””

The upcoming film marks Al-Mansour’s second Netflix project; she previously directed “Nappily Ever After,” a 2018 romantic comedy, for the streaming service.

Al-Mansour gained traction in the United States in 2012 with “Wadja,” a film that received an Indie Spirit nomination for best feature. “Wadja” was the first movie filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia. She also directed “Mary Shelley” and “The Perfect Candidate,” the latter of which received a favorable review from IndieWire’s Eric Kohn last year.

Now that Al-Mansour has been confirmed as director the nearly decade-long wait for an adaption of “The Selection” could be nearing its end. “The Selection” was previously in development as a television series at the CW but plans for that project were killed in 2013. Warner Bros. won the film rights two years later and Novi and Shahbazian were revealed as producers in 2018.

“We are thrilled to be working with Netflix and bringing these beloved books to life for the extraordinarily loyal and passionate fan base,” Novi said in a statement. “The author Kiera Cass has created a spellbinding fantasy whose message of empowerment and authenticity is more relevant today than ever.”

Variety was first to report “The Selection” news.

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