Universal Studios presents: The Kingdom


Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx leads an all-star ensemble in a timely thriller that tracks a powder-keg criminal investigation shared by two cultures chasing a deadly enemy ready to strike again in The Kingdom.

When a terrorist bomb detonates inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, an international incident is ignited. While diplomats slowly debate equations of territorialism, FBI Special Agent Ronald Floury (Foxx) quickly assembles an elite team (Oscar winner Chris Cooper and Golden Globe winners Jennifer Gamer and Jason Bateman) and negotiates a secret five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the madman behind the bombing.

Upon landing in the desert kingdom, however, Fleury and his team discover Saudi authorities suspicious and unwelcoming of American interlopers into what they consider a local matter. Hamstrung by protocol—and with the clock ticking on their five days—the FBI agents find their expertise worthless without the trust of their Saudi counterparts, who want to locate the terrorist in their homeland on their own terms.

Fleury’s crew finds a like-minded partner in Saudi Police Captain Al-Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), who helps them navigate royal politics and unlock the secrets of the crime scene and the workings of an extremist cell bent on further destruction. With these unlikely allies sharing a propulsive commitment to crack the case, the team is led to the killer’s front door in a blistering do-or-die confrontation. Now in a fight for there own lives, strangers united by one mission won’t stop until justice is found in The Kingdom.



Peter Berg conceived of the Idea for The Kingdom a decade ago, after watching news coverage of the Infamous June 25, 1996, Khobar Towers terrorist attack In Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Hezbollah exploded a fuel truck that slaughtered 19 Americans, a Saudi national and wounded 372 people of many nationalities In one of the most brutal anti-American attacks ever staged in that region.

Berg recalls of the attack that affected U.S. relations with Its Saudi allies: “It was an act of terrorism that targeted Americana, and was felt painfully by Saudis as well. It led to the FBI trying to work for the first time with Saudi law enforcement, which proved to be a complicated and tricky investigative effort. I thought it would be a fascinating Idea for a film, to watch how the American and Arab cultures-both targets of religious violence and sharing a common interest In battling religious extremism-navigate differences, suspicions and politics to try and work together.”

Over the next few years, the Idea would gestate as Berg developed a dual career as actor and filmmaker, helming notable box-office hits from The Rundown to Friday Night Lights.


The Kingdom began principal photography on location in the Phoenix area. In addition to the Sun Valley, key domestic locations for the project included Mesa and Gilbert, Arizona where the film's main sets were built at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus, and in Washington, D.C., at the World War II Memorial and the Department of Justice building.

“We had to find a desert locale in the U.S. that could simulate Saudi Arabia,” producer Stuber notes. “Your options are realty the Southwest, be it in Arizona or the California desert. The topography around Phoenix gave us the vistas and depth we needed to accurately recreate Saudi Arabia in the U.S.-the same look and texture.”

Just add plenty of scorching weather that forced 4:00 a.m. cell times throughout the course of the 10-week stay in Arizona. “The heat was tough,” Stuber admits. “We were outdoors on a lot in the middle of the desert, with 110-115 degree temperatures that were taxing. Everyone had a common enemy in the heat.”

In designing his Rlyadh set, production designer Tom Duffield notes, “The Arab buildings in this movie were based on sites in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). I went there in prep and photographed a lot of houses and buildings. The target house and Suweidi street sets were based on photos from the U.A.E.”

The crew needed an old military housing compound to set the American oil-company housing development in Riyadh where the bomb blast occurs. Suburban Phoenix’s Williams Air Force Base, a decommissioned military compound adjacent to Williams Gateway Airfield in Mesa was the perfect space. The area, now serving as part of ASU’s Polytechnic’s East Campus, had a layout that would prove ideal for the desert look of the Gulf Oasis Western Housing Compound.

On the ASU campus, the art department and construction crews leveled an old dirt road and built three four-story condo facades and a working baseball field-for both the films opening sequences prior to the attack arid the decimated aftermath.


After Berg filmed the huge explosion, Duffield’s crew spent the next 10 days stripping down the set to create the bombed-out facade, littered with dozens of torched auto carcasses strewn across the baseball diamond and parking lot-courtesy of special effects coordinator Burt Dalton’s mechanical effects crew. His team actually blew up 40 cars in the desert to dress the remarkable set.


The painstakingly detailed set took the construction crew almost three months to build and dress for the cameras, in scorching heat that, on many days, forced laborers to abandon their posts as early as 2:00 p.m.


Instead of building two separate sets pre’ and post-explosion), Duffield describes how they economized the look “We stripped the facades off-built the pre-explosion facade over the post-explosion front. The material looks like concrete block, but its actually foam made to look like concrete block, Our set decorator, Ron Reiss, went out and got all the debris to scatter around this six-acre set.”

On an adjacent part of the ASU campus, the production design team also constructed a network of suburban streets (accurately doubling the Suweidi section of Riyadh) where the FBI agents and Saudi police engage in a fierce gunfight with the terrorist cell. In an industrial park warehouse in the nearby suburb of Chandler, Duffield’s art department designed the interiors of an apartment where the terrorist mastermind lakes refuge, and where one of the FBI agents is kidnapped and tortured. As needed, the art department dressed the surrounding freeway near ASU with Arabic-language signs, replacing lire normal speed limit and exit signage scattered throughout the two-mile route. Of course, (almost) all signs were removed prior to the Monday morning commute so local airfreight drivers didn’t get confused during deliveries.


The filmmakers and the studio both took seriously the impact the film might have on the friends and families of those lost as the result of terrorist attacks and were happy to make the following inclusion, even at the cost of several tens of thousands of dollars as the print had been "locked". But, they went in and reprinted the final reel in order to make the inclusion after being made aware of the impact the film previews were having on the families of those lost in the Khobar Towers Bombing. 

While THE KINGDOM is a work of fiction, the filmmakers found inspiration from actual incidents of terrorism and the cultural, forensic and procedural complications of the investigations that follow them. The filmmakers would like to honor the men and women who have lost their lives to acts of terror while serving their country. In particular, they would like to pay tribute to the memory of 19 American airmen who lost their lives on June 25, 1996, in the attack on the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia:

Captain Christopher J. Adams

Captain Leland T. Haun

MSgt Michael G. Heiser

MSgt Kendall K. Kitson, Jr.

SSgt Kevin J. Johnson

SSgt Ronald L. King

Sgt Millard D. Campbell

TSgt Daniel B. Cafourek

TSgt Patrick P. Fennig

TSgt Thanh Van Nguyen

SrA Earl F. Cartrette, Jr.

SrA Jeremy A. Taylor

A1C Christopher Lester

A1C Brent E. Marthaler

A1C Brian W. McVeigh

A1C Peter J. Morgera

A1C Joseph E. Rimkus

A1C Joshua E. Woody

A1C Justin R. Wood