One thing that Guggenheim told us that really surprised us was that when the producers first got the rights to this story, it was to be a regular movie with actors. However, once they met Malala, they immediately knew that it had to be a documentary. They did not know who would ever play her; she was too special.
When the producers asked Guggenheim to direct this documentary, and after reading some more about her story, he was really struck by this idea of the father-daughter relationship. He told us, “I have two daughters and I wanted to understand what was it that he did and what was it that she did that made her feel so confident that she could speak out; that she could be so brave.” The film is not solely about Malala, but about her family, especially her father. This is why the film is named He Named Me Malala, because the father played a massive role in creating Malala’s love of education, and by allowing her to speak out while others cowered in fear of the Taliban.
When asked how this movie compares to other movies he’s made in the past, Guggenheim replied, “This one’s special, because it’s so personal, because I have two daughters, and I struggle with being a good dad, and it taught me a lot. It made me think a lot about that.”