EXCLUSIVE: Egyptian star Bushra has signed up to play opposite compatriot actor Sayed Badreya in English-language thriller Bride Of The Nile, about the trafficking of young girls in the region, which Badreya will also direct.

Bushra, who won best actress at DIFF in 2010 for her performance in sexual harassment drama 678, will play a US journalist investigating human trafficking who swaps places with a teenage victim destined for Saudi Arabia.

Badreya, who is attending Dubai Film Market with his Santa Monica-based company Zoom in Focus, plays a notorious smuggler who discovers the journalist’s ruse. The Egyptian-born, US-based actor is best known for his baddie roles in over 30 Hollywood pictures including The Insider, Iron Man and The Dictator.

Executive produced by Belgium-based Sameh Sobhy, Bride Of The Nile will shoot in Chicago, Egypt and either Morocco or Nevada for the desert scenes. Badreya plans to shoot the $2m production in spring 2014.

He is also working on documentary The End Of Brotherhood, probing the roots of the Muslim Brotherhood, their links with President Barack Obama’s administration and brief rise to power after the toppling of Hosni Mubarak.

Badreya spent time in Cairo in 2012 interviewing figures such as preacher and Muslim Brotherhood supporter Safwat Hegazy, who was arrested on murder charges in August, celebrity political commentator Ibrahim Eissa and director Khaled Youssef.  

The actor and filmmaker previously attended DIFF with AmericanEast, depicting Arab American life after 9/11.