The Giaour

David Oakes will play Hassan Ottoman commander

Gender identity is definitely a very hot topic these days, and Rika Ohara plans to discuss it from a 19th-century angle! She is currently preparing a movie project based on Lord Byron‘s famous 1813 poems The GIAOUR in which harem slave Leila is drowned as an adulteress and her lover the Giaour (“infidel”) kills her master Hassan in revenge and is cursed to become a vampire!

which has two boys whom we couldn’t really adore more even if we tried – David Oakes and Julian Morris in the cast, with the story set during the Ottoman Empire in Greece, will follow ten-year-old Laertes who is saved by Ottoman commander Hassan (David Oakes). Baba the Nubian eunuch puts Laertes in girls’ clothes and calls him Leila. Protected by Hassan and Baba,

Julian Morris is to play a character named David

Leila grows to love Hassan but the world judges them master and “harem slave” — which is the story Byron chose to tell in his poem.


In Lord Byron’s The Giaour (1813), beautiful harem slave Leila is drowned as an adulteress. Her lover the Giaour (“infidel”) kills her master Hassan in revenge and is cursed in punishment.

In the 200 years since its publication, The Giaour spawned a genre of gothic fiction and came to symbolize, via Delacroix’s paintings, the lethal conflict between the East and the West as represented by its two male protagonists: one Muslim, the other, Christian – the Giaour, or “the infidel” of the title. Yet Leila, at the center of this murderous passion, is entirely silent and strangely bloodless – until we consider a controversial new reading of the poem that unlocks her true identity.

Love, blood, karmic retribution – the film The Giaour is Byron meets kabuki, in which Leila ceases to be a silent victim of “Oriental” violence against women, and Hassan emerges as a gay Muslim romantic hero.

No release date.
Eugène Delacroix, The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan, 1826, Art Institute of Chicago)
Related worksThe Giaour is the first of Byron’s series of Oriental romances. The poem’s success led Byron to publish three more “Turkish tales” in the next couple of years: “The Bride Of Abydos” in 1813, “The Corsair” and Lara, both in 1814.