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Lena Dunham writing Syrian refugee story for Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, which should go over well

Lena Dunham and J.J. Abrams
Photo: Kris Connor (Getty Images)

With Tiny Furniture and Girls, Lena Dunham proved herself to be very good at writing smart, cutting satire about self-absorbed white people. Her current series, Camping, is floundering a bit on that front, and her next project is deviating from it entirely. Variety reports that the writer and actress has been tapped by Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams to pen a Syrian refugee’s at-sea survival tale.

Dunham will adapt Melissa Fleming’s A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival, which documents the true story of Doaa Al Zamel, a shipwrecked mother who, in fleeing Egypt for Sweden, spent two days floating with her children on an inflatable life raft.


Dunham’s a curious choice for the project, what with Girls having long been criticized for its lack of inclusivity and the actress herself having been accused of “hipster racism” by former colleagues. But it’s got ample support from Paramount Pictures, which will team with the high-profile likes of Abrams’ Bad Robot and Spielberg’s Amblin Partners for the film.

Dunham recently shuttered her female-forward newsletter Lenny Letter, and will next appear in Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming Manson-centric ensemble drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.