Ewan McGregor (Beginners) and Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) star alongside Oscarc-nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (I've Loved You So Long) and Amr Waked (Syriana) in this extraordinary, beguiling tale of fly-fishing and political spinning, of unexpected heroism and late-blooming love and of an attempt to prove the impossible, possible. Directed by Oscarc-nominee Lasse Hallstr”m (Chocolat) and written by Oscarc-winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), this feature film is based on Paul Torday's acclaimed novel about a scientist who looks to fulfills a sheikh's dream of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to his homeland in Yemen. It is produced by Paul Webster (The Motorcycle Diaries) and executive produced by Jamie Laurenson, Stephen Garrett, Paula Jalfon, Zygi Kamasa and Guy Avshalom.
Lasse Hallström's breezy adaptation of Paul Torday's satiric novel, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, features dedicated anglers and arid Middle Eastern vistas, but it's a screwball comedy at heart (with Morocco standing in for Yemen). Bridget (Kristin Scott Thomas), the prime minister's steamroller of a press secretary, sets the story in motion when she reads about a fabulously wealthy sheik (Amr Waked) who longs to bring fly-fishing to the desert. She believes that cooperation with his country would be good for Britain's image, while the sheik has more altruistic goals in mind. This leads her to mild-mannered fisheries expert Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor, effectively cast against type), who feels certain the endeavor is pure fantasy until hyper-efficient Harriet (Emily Blunt), the sheik's land agent, brings him some surprising data about the region. Though Fred's marriage has been running on fumes, Harriet has been seeing a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Initially, the two are all business as they devise a plan involving a system of dams, but their feelings for each other gradually rise to the surface. Just as their impossible dream appears to be coming true, a series of unexpected developments threatens to scupper the entire enterprise. The road to a mostly happy ending isn't without its potholes, but Hallström (Chocolat) and Oscar-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire) make it a trip worth taking. If their scenario prizes romance over politics, McGregor and Blunt mount a charm offensive too persuasive to resist. --Kathleen C. Fennessy