Kris Thykier’s PeaPie Films has acquired the feature film rights to Kurban Said’s novel Ali & Nino (published by Overlook Press).

Christopher Hampton (Atonement, A Dangerous Method) will adapt the script.

The epic love story was first published in 1937 and has been translated into 33 languages.

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The story is about Muslim desert-loving Ali and Christian Georgian city sophisticate Nino, who live in oil-rich Azerbaijan at the start of the 20th century. Their love has to overcome their families’ differences as well as the political situation as the first world war breaks out and Azerbaijan fights for independence.

Thykier (Stardust, Kick-Ass, The Debt) will produce with Leyla Aliyeva, Azerbaijani author and activist, serving as executive producer.

Thykier said: “We are thrilled to have attracted one of the world’s finest writers to bring this captivating novel to the screen. Ali & Nino is one of the great works of the Twentieth century, as evocative of the exotic desert landscape as it is of the passion between two people pulled apart by culture, religion, and war.”

Hampton added: “I am delighted to be working on this project. From the moment I read the book I fell in love with this story which is beautifully written and in many ways as relevant and resonant now as it was when it was first published.”