Sex/Life: Trailer for season 2 of Netflix series
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The Exchange follows Farida (played by Rawan Mahdi) and Munira (Mona Hussain), two women who shook up Kuwait’s stock exchange in the 1980s, three years before Saddam Hussein’s invasion. Although Netflix’s new historical drama tells an important story, producer Abdullah Boushahri wasn’t sure how compelling their version of events would be to international audiences.
Boushahri admitted the story of the Middle East’s female financial pioneers would be a challenge to bring to screens.
As Netflix’s first series to be produced entirely in Kuwait, The Exchange is breaking new ground for the streamer as it continues to expand its international output.
However, the producers had concerns the real-world setting of the show could get lost amongst the flashier and action-packed streaming series on offer this year.
“The minute they talked to me about the idea and the subject matter, I immediately told them that it would be a big challenge to make this show,” Boushahri recalled.
“Because it is not a typical love story or a typical action film.”
Although the drama depicted in The Exchange is very real, most of the events take place in the Kuwait stock exchange and surrounding offices.
Furthermore, the financial jargon used throughout the series could turn potential viewers away from learning more about Kuwait’s history.
“It’s a story that happens in a workplace, which makes it very tough to make it entertaining,” Boushahri told Variety.
“So in the beginning, the subject matter seemed very, very challenging.
“I was afraid of getting into a show that would be just about offices and people, which would make it difficult for people to follow. Especially since it talks about the financial world and the stock exchange.”
Thankfully, audiences’ appetites for stories about financial corruption and breaking the glass ceiling have grown exponentially over the past few years.
The producer credited one film in particular for putting her mind at ease whilst spearheading this exciting new project for the Kuwaiti TV industry.
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“I’m a very big fan of The Wolf of Wall Street,” she said. “Martin Scorsese is one of my role models.
“So, in a way, initially that film gave me comfort that this world could be entertaining.
“And then when I started reading the scripts, I realised that in The Exchange there are just so many human emotions, and so much woman-power and groundbreaking topics and types of stories that have never been told in this way before.”
Kuwait has already been producing shows for local programming for decades, but The Exchange is one of the country’s first steps into international broadcasting.
If the series proves to be a success for the streamer, Boushahri hinted Netflix subscribers could expect to see more series from the Middle East produced over the next few years.
“What I can say is that Netflix told me that they see Kuwait as a gateway to the [Gulf] region,” she said.
“That’s why they chose Kuwait as the first country in which to do this type of show.”
Hopefully, the series is just the beginning of a new venture for Netflix, which has already had huge success with a range of non-English shows from Squid Game to Money Heist and many more.
The Exchange is available to stream on Netflix.
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