Earlier this week, Netflix announced its first Egyptian show, an adaptation of the “Paranormal” series by beloved Egyptian novelist Ahmed Khaled Tawfik (1962-2018):
According to Hollywood Reporter, the series will be produced by Mohamed Hefzy and Amr Salama, and “Salama – who directed the Egyptian Oscar entry Sheikh Jackson and local box office hit Excuse My French – will helm the series and serve as showrunner.”
HR reports that the show will be set in the 1960s, and it will follow Ahmed Khaled Tawfik’s Paranormal hero Dr. Refaat Ismail “as he comes up against various supernatural events.”
In the novels, Dr. Ismail is described as being as old, scrawny, and suffering from heart trouble and breathing troubles. As Emad El-Din Aysha wrote on ArabLit, “The man is a walking pharmacy, with his medication always in his pockets. He’s the last person you would think of as a hero, but nonetheless the author was able to make his readers like the man and sympathize with him, even identify with him. Ahmed Khalid Tawfik said he even received letters from female fans asking if Refaat Ismail was a real man or not!”
When Rifaat Ismail died in the novellas, it caused a sensation on the internet. Fans on social media websites made a de facto protest march online, complaining that the man still had plenty of life in him and that the author should have kept him going for at least another 10 years. In response, fans of Ahmed Khalid Tawfik set up a facebook page for the character!
Hefzy told Hollywood Reporter that he holds the Paranormal series dear, and Salama told HR that, “I’m very excited about this project, It was my dream to adapt Paranormal of the late author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik and turn it into a drama since I ever wanted to be a filmmaker. I’m proud to present the books in a new light while still keeping the essence of Paranormal.”
You can read more about plans for the series on Hollywood Reporter, and more about Ahmed Khaled Tawfik at “In Memoriam: Ahmed Khalid Tawfik, the Man and the Mission.” Online, anticipation was already building:
Only one of Tawfik’s novels has been translated to English, his Utopia, translated by Chip Rossetti. Unfortunately, the book fell out of print after the dissolution of the Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing project.