Producers include “Jojo Rabbit’s” Chelsea Winstanley and “Beasts of No Nations” executive producer Tommee May through her Come What May Productions.
“Thief of Sleep” will be directed by Darwin Serink from a script he wrote with playwright Stuart Thomas. Serink made the short film “Aban + Khorshid,” which won the LGBTQ Emerging Filmmaker Showcase during the Cannes Film Festival. Aria starred in the short.
Winstanley’s producing credits also include “What We Do in the Shadows,” directed by her spouse Taika Waititi, and “Merata.”
Aria, winner of the Heath Ledger Scholarship Award, starred as the young Jake LaMotta in “The Bronx Bull.” He will be seen next alongside Jason Momoa in “See,” the upcoming series launching on Apple TV+, written by creator Steven Knight, directed by Francis Lawrence and produced by Peter Chernin.
“Thief of Sleep” is the story of a young closeted gay man, who faces persecution in Iran, and flees to his distant family in Scotland. Thrown into a new culture, he falls in love but has his freedom and life threatened anew when his asylum case is rejected.
“Exile, immigration, asylum and sexuality make ‘Thief of Sleep’ an extremely current movie,” Winstanley and May said. “We are fortunate to have Mojean play one of the lead characters, at such a breakthrough moment of his career. The public is about to discover his tremendous talent on many platforms.”
Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” starring Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis, will premiere at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival next month.
Aria is represented by Untitled Entertainment, UTA, Independent Management Company and Nelson Davis.