Holy Spider Director Ali Abbasi to Helm US-set Thriller The Student

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After impressing audiences and critics alike with his 2022 Persian-language neo-noir film ‘Holy Spider,’ Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi is gearing up to start work on his next feature film. Titled ‘The Student’ (earlier ‘The Apprentice,’) the thriller film will reportedly be set in the United States. Cinemaholic can confirm that the filming of the movie will begin in Toronto in November.

Presently, the plot and casting details for the movie are being carefully kept under wraps. The film’s production got delayed by ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, but it seems like it has been given the greenlight to start shooting.

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Ali Abbasi is an Iranian writer-director who gained recognition with his feature film directorial debut, the 2016 Danish horror movie ‘Shelley.’ After his debut film’s critical acclaim, Abassi directed ‘Border,’ a 2018 Swedish fantasy film based on the short story of the same name by Ajvide Lindqvist. Abbasi’s most recent release is 2022’s critically acclaimed crime-thriller movie ‘Holy Spider,’ which won several accolades across the globe.

Although Abbasi is primarily known for his European filmmaking sensibilities, he is best known in Hollywood for directing episodes of the HBO post-apocalyptic drama series ‘The Last of Us‘ starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in the lead roles. It is based on the video game series of the same name by Naughty Dog. Abbasi’s experience working on the series, produced by a  major Hollywood studio, likely contributed to his decision to set up his next directorial feature film in the United States.

As with his previous directorial ventures, Abbasi is expected to co-write the screenplay for ‘The Student.’ While there is no word about the movie’s plot, the thriller movie will have a strong political theme, as with Abbasi’s other works. In a 2022 interview, Abbasi expressed an interest in reinventing himself as a storyteller and director. Abbasi stated that he was working on several political projects, indicating ‘The Student’ will also feature a heavy dose of the filmmaker’s trademark socio-political commentary.

Aside from his writing and directing duties, Abbasi will likely also co-produce the movie after doing so for the first time on his last film. Abbasi is also expected to return for directing episodes of the second season of ‘The Last of Us,’ which was announced in January 2023. ‘The The Student’ currently does not have a known release date.

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