I hear that Thorne is writing the feature after Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner’s firm picked up the rights to Mardini’s life story earlier this year. Mardini is the teenage Olympian refugee who dragged a dinghy of refugees to safety across the Aegean Sea.
This comes as Thorne’s latest TV project Kiri launched with over 3M viewers for Channel 4 last night. The four-part thriller, which stars Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire, was the broadcaster’s biggest drama opener since AMC sci-fi co-production Humans launched with over 4M viewers in 2015.
Thorne, who started out writing episodes of Shameless and Skins, more recently created C4 drama National Treasure, worked on Philip K. Dick drama Electric Dreams and wrote the stage play for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. He is also working on Netflix musical drama The Eddy with La La Land director Damien Chazelle. His feature credits include nuclear thriller War Book, Tom Harper-directed Aeronauts, set up at Amazon Studios, and Rosamund Pike-fronted Marie Curie drama Radioactive, which is also produced by Working Title.
The as-yet-untitled Yusra Mardini project is being directed by Billy Elliot and The Reader director Stephen Daldry and produced by Bevan and Fellner alongside The Idol producer Ali Jaafar.
The film will tell the true story of Mardini, who grew up in Syria but fled with her sister in 2015, travelling to Europe. While on a boat with other refugees looking to flee to the Greek island of Lesbos, the boat began to sink, endangering the lives of all on board. Using their swimming skills, the two sisters heroically jumped into the sea and pushed the boat for more than three hours through the freezing waters to safety.
Following this, the pair moved to Berlin and Mardini met local swimming coach Sven Spannekrebs, who took her under his wing. During the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, the IOC launched for the first time ever a Team Refugee. Against the odds, Mardini made it to the Olympics and won her qualifying heat during the games. Since then, she’s become an impassioned champion and ambassador for refugees across the world meeting world leaders such as President Barak Obama and the Pope and delivering a series of keynote speeches at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Thorne is repped by UTA and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.