Girls creator Lena Dunham has been tapped to adapt the non-fiction book A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, And Survival. The book was written by Melissa Fleming, the chief spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner, and chronicles the true story of Doaa Al Zamel, a Syrian refugee and young mother who sought to flee Egypt for Sweden.
She fled by boat, but became shipwrecked, and survived for days in the open water holding her two children. Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams are both producing the film, which will be a Paramount Pictures project produced through Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and Abrams’ Bad Robot.
Dunham is coming off the recent finale of Girls as well as her HBO adaptation of Camping, a limited series based on the U.K. show of the same name, and it marks her final project as part of a creative partnership with Jenni Konner, who served as co-showrunner on both series. They had both signed on to write the Hollywood remake of Toni Erdmann, but neither are involved in the project anymore.
Dunham is obviously talented, but there will be eyebrows raised about her fit for this project. A white woman telling the story of a Syrian refugee isn’t exactly the greatest idea, but she has shown a knack for capturing close relationships in her previous work, and it doesn’t get much closer than a mother and her children, especially in a dire situation as the one that Al Zamel faced.
Hopefully Dunham can handle the adaptation well, and her take on the project must be interesting enough to get both Spielberg and Abrams on board as producers. But hopefully people who have a more intimate understanding of Syrian culture can be brought on board to help adapt a compelling true story worth telling.