British cult classic comedy Office is getting its first Arabic-language remake, Deadline reported. Title Al Maktab the series is the result of a partnership between the BBC, which owns the format rights, and MBC Studios, the production arm of Saudi Middle Eastern satellite giant MBC.
British and American sitcoms have revolved around the chaotic daily life of paper company employees recorded by a film crew for a documentary. The company is run by a self-centered but lovable boss played by Eric Gervais and Steve Carell respectively. However, the Arabic broadcast comes with its own updates and will take place in a courier company run by Malik Al-Tumaifi. Actor Saleh Abuamrh (the Hotel des Parcs) was cast in the lead role and Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi (Francs) is set to direct. Shadi Mcdad will serve as producer and Alessandro Martella as director of photography.
The 20-part series will air on MBC’s television channels and through its Shahid VIP streaming service. The original British dummy drama created by and starring Gervais and Stephen Merchant ran for two seasons. The show’s popularity led to an American adaptation by NBC starring Carell in the lead and went on to be successful for 9 seasons.
Arguably two of the most watched comedies, these adaptations have won various BAFTAs and Golden Globes over the years. André Renaud of BBC Studios, SVP format sales said:
“While office work may feel slightly different for many of us in 2022, the familiarity of these well-watched characters as they navigate petty rivalries, moments of friendship and humor, and a boss who sometimes makes a fool of himself always rings so true.”
Over the years, the show has been remade in 10 different territories like Canada, Germany, France, India, Chile, and Poland, among others. Nevertheless, the mockumentary is a first for the Middle East region. “Audiences around the world, including in the MENA region, are no strangers to The Office, and given its huge success over the past two decades, it’s incredibly exciting for us to now deliver the very first release. Arab comedy hitting MBC screens very soon,” said Zeinab Abul Alsamh, Managing Director of MBC Studios KSA.
Besides Abuamrh bringing the iconic characters to life, there are actors like Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati, and Hisham Hawsawi among others.
The filming of Al Maktab is slated to begin later this month and release later this year.