Netflix’s AKA: Is the French Film Rooted in Reality?

Directed by Morgan S. Dalibert, Netflix’s ‘AKA’ is a French action thriller film about a special ops agent, Adam Franco. The film stars Albam Lenoir as the protagonist, alongside Eric Cantona, Sveva Alviti, and others. After the speculated resurgence of terrorist Mokat Al Tayeb, Adam is assigned to infiltrate the crew of Al Tayeb’s close friend Victor Postare and collect intel about Al Tayeb.

However, as Adam unexpectedly bonds with Postare’s young son and learns more about his organization, complications arise within his mission. Due to the film’s occasional relationship with politics and a focus on French-South Sudan relations, viewers might wonder if the story is based on real events. If so, here is everything you need to know about the true origin of ‘AKA.’

AKA is an Original Screenplay

No, ‘AKA’ is not based on a true story. The storylines and narratives explored within the film are all invented by Morgan S. Dalibert and Alban Lenoir, who wrote the screenplay. The idea for this project had been around for almost 14 years between them before the movie’s release. The pair felt like action thriller films were lacking in French cinema and wanted to relaunch the genre in France as a way to reaffirm their ability to create such movies.

At first, Dalibert and Lenoir considered telling this story in a series format with multiple characters and storylines. After the project turned into a film from a series, they cut down some details and ideas but still preserved the heart of the story. Ultimately, the duo wanted to tell a story about a renowned hero on a mission forced to confront his dark past and reconcile with it.

In an April 2023 interview, Dalibert and Lenoir shared that during these early stages of building up the foundation for the film, they were inspired by movies like 2005’s ‘A Bittersweet Life’ and Matt Damon’s ‘Jason Bourne‘ trilogy. The basic premise of an exceptional special agent working on a thrilling case is a tried and tested trope in action movies. As such, viewers might find similarities between ‘AKA’ and countless other spy thrillers.

However, ‘AKA’ strives to set itself apart from generic action movies by focusing on building an interesting overarching plot with themes that audiences can connect with. By mirroring Adam’s past with the relationship between the Postare siblings, Helen and Jonathan, ‘AKA’ adds substance to what could have been just another action flick. Likewise, how it delves into the political and historical relations between the French and South Sudan, governments adds a layer of reality and social commentary to the plot.

In Alban Lenoir’s opinion, a good action movie utilizes action as a tool to further the plot. As such, while making ‘AKA,’ Lenoir wanted the action sequences in the film to be grounded and credible without being too surreal. While Adam Franco often appears as a one-man army throughout the movie, the damage he takes still affects his character and, in turn, the overarching plot. As a result, his character feels humanized and relatable while still being a force to be reckoned with.

Similarly, characters like Helen, Natalya, and Pee Wee are realistic regardless of their stereotypical roles within Victor Postare’s crime syndicate family. Meanwhile, the character of Mokat Al Tayeb provides a refreshing twist in the otherwise predictable narrative. While crafting the primary antagonist for the movie, Dalibert wanted to subvert expectations and present a different vision of an archetypal villain. In doing so, he adds a sense of familiarity to the film before pleasantly sweeping the metaphorical rug from under the viewers’ feet.

Ultimately, ‘AKA’ is neither based on a true story nor its plot points have intentional similarities to any real-life incident. At the end of the day, it’s a take on a classic action thriller premise to build upon the genre. With a solid framework for the plot and a careful understanding of the characters, ‘AKA’ tells an entertaining and compelling story.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s AKA Filmed?