A novel based on the true story of the so-called Moorish Jack the Ripper has been optioned for film. Assembly of the Dead, by British Moroccan author Saeida Rouass, was published in 2017 by Impress Books and captured the attention of Hollywood producer Ronald L Carr shortly afterward.
‘The time wasn’t right for me then because I had so many other projects going on,’ says Ron in a press release. ‘But it’s such a powerful story I couldn’t forget it. When the publisher told me at the start of this year that it was still available, I couldn’t believe my luck and jumped at the chance to work on it.’ At the time Ron was just starting to prep his French-Turkish feature film, Scent of My Daughter.
Of Moroccan heritage herself, Londoner Saeida Rouass spent six months living in the heart of Marrakesh, Morocco, as part of her research for her book. It helped her get a ‘feel’ for a place that hasn’t changed much in the last 120 years, adding authenticity to her meticulously studied novel about the murders of 36 women there at the start of the 20th Century.
‘I am really excited at the prospect of Assembly of the Dead becoming a film or mini-series,’ says Saeida. ‘The story of the Moorish Jack the Ripper and the women he targeted has captured my imagination for a while, along with the story of Morocco at the turn of the 20th century. I hope this project brings that moment in history, set in the alleyways of Marrakesh, to a wider audience.’
Saeida is currently working on the sequel to Assembly of the Dead and the second book in a planned trilogy, Library of Untruths. Set in 1912 Fes, Ron already hopes to be able to bring that story to the screen, too.