Gaddafi's Hollywood Connection: The Dictator's Son Was a B-Movie Backer

Gaddafi's Hollywood Connection: The Dictator's Son Was a B-Movie Backer
Saadi Gaddafi helped finance the film production company Natural Selection.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Asrebels continue to take over Tripoli and the hunt for embattled Libyan leaderMuammar Gaddafi broadens, numerous reports say his third son, Saadi Gaddafi, isin the hands of rebel captors. The younger Gaddafi, 38, returned home earlier this year to takecharge of his father's special forces. Now Interpol wants him for allegedlyordering unarmed demonstrators shot, a charge that he denies. Before theinsurgency, Gaddafi lived a charmed life as a soccer player turned businessman — and until the fighting began, aHollywood producer.

Gaddafihelped finance the film production company Natural Selection, partnering withits founder, American Matty Beckerman. As money dwindled stateside after the 2008 financialcollapse, Beckerman went to the Middle East in 2009 to secure funding forNatural Selection. Beckerman told the Wrap a phone call led him to Mauritius to meet Gaddafi.Gaddafi was more than happy to oblige, jumping on as majority financier. Hehelped Beckerman raise $100 million in investment capital for the productioncompany. It was an odd pairing to some, considering Beckerman is Jewish and Gaddafi, aMuslim. "The fact that you and I will do business together will changeperceptions," Gaddafi told Beckerman, according to the Wrap. 

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Hollywood starteddistancing itself from Natural Selection as the rebels began to battlepro-Gaddafi forces. Trade news originally reported talent agency William Morris Endeavor's collaboration withNatural Selection on "The Ice Man," a drama about real-life hit man RichardKuklinksi. Eventually William Morris Endeavor disassociated itself from the production, reported Moviefone. Foranother film, the music documentary "Life at Preservation Hall: LouisianaFairytale," Beckerman lost his credits for the movie as its publicists pulledpress releases that listed Natural Selection's involvement.  

NaturalSelection did manage to make two movies before civil war erupted in Libya: "TheExperiment," a straight-to-video psychological drama that starring ForestWhitaker and Adrian Brody; and the thriller "Isolation," starring Eva Amurri,which has yet to find distribution. Natural Selection's productions have cometo a halt since the insurgency.

Saadi isn't theonly Gaddafi with interests in the arts; Saif Gaddafi, Saadi's older brother andMuammar's heir-apparent, was reportedly active in Islamic art auctions atSotheby's and Christie's, in hopes of bringing a museum of Islamic art toTripoli.

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