‘The Crown’-Inspired Drama About Iran’s Last Royal Family in Development at Random Access Media (EXCLUSIVE)

An epic drama series about Iran’s last monarchy is in the works, Variety has learned.

Inspired by “The Crown,” Netflix’s sweeping dramatization of the British royal family, “The Last Shah” is set to span four decades beginning during World War II, when the young monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ascended to the throne, and ending in 1979 with the Islamic Revolution and U.S. embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.

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The series, which is in development at writer Morrie Rosmarin’s production company Random Access Media, will follow the story of Pahlavi and his third wife, Queen Farah Pahlavi. Often compared to Jackie Kennedy, the stylish and progressive queen was a champion of women’s rights and modern art. She married the Shah in 1959 clad in a dazzling Dior gown embroidered with silver thread and pearls, designed by Yves Saint Laurent.

“A heroic and ultimately tragic story of a wife, mother and queen trying to save her husband, the Shah of Iran, her family, her dynasty, and her homeland,” reads the logline. “Told from the point of view of Empress Farah Pahlavi, it’s an epic struggle for the survival of Iran’s monarchy at the crossroads of the modern world. The characters are interwoven into a compelling saga of personal relations, family crises, palace intrigue, religious upheaval and machinations of Shakespearean proportions, all set against the powder keg of a brewing revolution that will change the course of history.”

The series is set to be particularly timely given Iran’s current role in geopolitics. On Sunday Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi was killed after his helicopter crashed in the country. His death was confirmed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It was Khamenei’s predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the Iranian revolution that saw the Shah toppled and the monarchy replaced with a fundamentalist regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Many people today (especially younger ones) are not aware that prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, during the reign of the Shah, Iran was one of the most Westernized countries in the Middle East,” said Rosmarin. “In contrast to the belligerent policies of the current religious theocracy of the Islamic Republic, Iran under the Shah was the strongest ally in the region of both the United States and Israel.”

Rosmarin, who has penned the pilot episode, is a writer, director and producer. He was previously an investigative journalist, working on shows including “60 Minutes,” “Dateline” and ABC’s “20/20.” His first feature was documentary “Blood and Tears: The Arab-Israeli Conflict,” which he co-wrote, directed and produced.

Rosmarin has also penned “The Dimona Affair,” a feature film about Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, which is set to be directed by “Six Degrees of Separation” helmer Fred Schepisi.

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