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FX’s ‘Tyrant’: Middle Eastern Drama From ‘Homeland’ Producers Casts First Leads

FX Tyrant Casting Mehdi Dehbi Moran Atias
Antoine Decaux / Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images

FX’s buzzworthy Middle Eastern drama ‘Tyrant‘ made a few waves recently when acclaimed ‘Life of Pi‘ director Ang Lee dropped out of helming the pilot, only to be replaced with David Yates of the ’Harry Potter‘ franchise, but now some casting news has finally emerged from the series. Actors Mehdi Dehbi and Moran Atias (‘Crash,’ ‘White Collar‘) have joined the series in regular roles, but what do they reveal about the ‘Tyrant’ story?

Developed by ‘Homeland’ producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff (along with ‘LOST’ writer Craig Wright), ‘Tyrant’ centers on a family (Barry, Molly and children) that gets drawn into Middle Eastern politics when an Arab state dictator dies and leaves his American son as the new head of the country.

According to Deadline, Dehbi will take the role of Abdul, a handsome young man assigned to keep Barry’s teen son Sammy out of trouble. Atias, meanwhile, will play Leila, the elegant and intelligent wife of Barry’s older brother Jamal, as well as a strong mother to bridegroom Ahmed.

Before bowing out of the series, Ang Lee called the pilot “one of the most brilliant ideas for a series that I’ve seen and one about which I was very excited.” Production on the pilot will begin in Morocco later this year, but what say you? Given FX’s recent string of successes, could the high-concept ‘Tyrant’ end up ruling the landscape?

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