Deadline: French star Jamel Debbouze has come on-board the feature film adaptation of Amin Maalouf’s seminal novel Leo The African. Debbouze, who has been one of France’s biggest stars for well over a decade, will play the title role of Hasan Al-Wazzan, or Leon Africanus, the 16th century traveler and writer. Based on a true story, the book follows Hassan’s childhood in Fez, Morocco, having fled the Spanish Inquisition, through his many journeys as a merchant. Along the way, he encounters, pirates, slave girls and princesses, witnessing a world in flux. In the book, Hasan undergoes his own multi-faith journey, performing his hajj to Mecca, then converting to Christianity, only to return to the Muslim faith in later life. The epic story journeys through the fall of Granada, the Ottoman conquest of Egypt and Renaissance Rome under the Medicis.