MBC STUDIOS, and US-based JB Pictures and AGC Studios team up for Rupert Wyatt’s epic motion picture, DESERT WARRIOR, starring Anthony Mackie and Aiysha Hart

15 November 2021 Related articles

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MBC STUDIOS, and US-based JB Pictures and AGC Studios team up for Rupert Wyatt’s epic motion picture, DESERT WARRIOR, starring Anthony Mackie and Aiysha Hart

By MBC Studios

All-star cast – comprising international and Middle Eastern talent – includes Anthony Mackie, Aiysha Hart, Sharlto Copley, Ghassan Massoud, Sami Bouajila, Lamis Ammar, Géza Röhrig, and Sir Ben Kingsley

Screenplay penned by Wyatt, Erica Beeney, David Self, and Gary Ross

Principal Photography has commenced In NEOM and Tabuk in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


RIYADH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia | 15 November 2021: MBC STUDIOS, the production arm of MBC GROUP – the largest and leading media company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – has partnered with the US-based JB Pictures and AGC Studios to produce Desert Warrior, an action-filled epic feature film set in 7th century Arabia.

The international title – which has just commenced filming in NEOM and Tabuk in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) – features an all-star cast led by “Captain America” Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Avengers: Endgame, The Banker) and Aiysha Hart (Mogul Mowgli, Colette, We Are Lady Parts). 

Joining them are Sharlto Copley (District 9), Ghassan Massoud (Kingdom of Heaven), Sami Bouajila (Hors-la-loi, Les Témoins, Indigènes), Lamis Ammar (Sand Storm, Sirens, A Tramway in Jerusalem), Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul, To Dust, Resistance), and Academy Award® winner Sir Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Night at the Museum, Secret of the Tomb, Iron Man 3, Schindler’s List).

British director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Mosquito Coast) helms the epic film from a screenplay, he co-penned with Erica Beeney (Captive State), David Self (The Road to Perdition), and Academy Award® nominee Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games).

Desert Warrior is produced by Jeremy Bolt (Resident Evil franchise, Monster Hunter, Polar) of JB Pictures.

MBC STUDIOS’ biggest ever film production to date, Desert Warrior is also the first tentpole film to be shot at NEOM in KSA, marking a new milestone for MBC GROUP this year. The first international feature film to be shot at NEOM is supported by the NEOM Media Industries Sector, with major productions being a catalyst for the development of the regional media industries epicentre at NEOM.

Zeinab Abu Alsamh, General Manager of MBC STUDIOS KSA, commented: “MBC STUDIOS is proud to be working with such world class talent across the board on Desert Warrior; it is testament to our ambition towards producing premium content for global audiences.

Desert Warrior is a tale of adventure, with a fierce female hero at the forefront of the story. We hope the story will connect with audiences of all ages worldwide. Rupert Wyatt is a visionary filmmaker, and Jeremy Bolt has already proven his mettle in steering this epic project into production.

She continued: “The cast is a dream come true… A mix of Arab and non-Arab talent coming together to create an unforgettable movie and highlighting the rich culture we have here. This is the beginning of having Saudi be a production hub for local and global films.”

For his part, JB Pictures’ Bolt stated: “Desert Warrior will give audiences a ringside seat to one of the most dramatic and consequential battles in history. Spectacular action and great bravery set against stunning mountainous desert landscapes.”

Wayne Borg, Managing Director, Media Industries at NEOM added: “Attracting a production of the scale of Desert Warrior as our first feature film highlights the confidence the film industry has in our ability to deliver a seamless production experience. Our fresh and diverse locations, world-class production team and attractive incentives make NEOM a very appealing destination for screen production.”

Anthony Mackie is represented by UTA and Inspire Entertainment. Aiysha Hart is represented by Curtis Brown and 42. Rupert Wyatt is represented by UTA.


It’s the early 7th century, and Arabia is made up of rival, feuding tribes, disunited and forever at each other’s throats. Emperor Kisra (Sir Kingsley) has a fearsome reputation for being utterly ruthless. But when the Arabian Princess Hind (Hart) refuses to become Kisra’s concubine, the stage is set for an epic confrontation. It is a battle that, by its conclusion, will have changed the region forever and echo throughout history.

Escaping with her father, King Numan (Massoud) into the vast and unforgiving desert, Hind is pursued by Kisra’s seasoned mercenary Jalabzeen and his bloodthirsty troops. Hind and her father are forced to entrust their safety to a mysterious bandit (Mackie), whose fighting prowess is second to none.  The bandit harbours his own secrets, which will play a large part in deciding the fate of the battle.

Hind inspires the fractious tribes to come together for one last stand and unite against an army that outnumbers them and is far better equipped. 

Filming for Desert Warrior commenced on 12 September 2021. It is expected to continue for three months.

AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of AGC Studios, will handle worldwide sales.