"Alfred" Nasseri, the asylum seeker who has been living in Charles de Gaulle airport for the last sixteen years has become a cult figure.
Now his life has inspired a Spielberg movie. "The Terminal" starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta Jones is released on June 18 in the States and here in September.
It tells the story of a man who is stuck in JFK for years when he finds himself unable to go back to a Balkan country which no longer exists, and now without an entrance visa to America. He is forced to live day after day after day in an airport; a Groundhog day with neither immortality nor redemption.
Nasseri found himself in a similar position when all his refugee papers were lost. Although locked in a fascinating Catch 22 situation for many years which has given him a status as an exciting real life urban myth, the truth is that he has problems with identity and more recently other mental problems that mean that he is reluctant to leave what he knows even though it is possible ( especially now he is beginning to be a "somebody" through his predicament.)
It is reputed that Dreamworks have paid him $250,000 for his life's story. His diaries are also being made into a volume of (possibly somewhat unreliable?) memoirs.
I am in the process of selling a story about him right now, based on an interview I did last week (see above photo - for more interesting pictures please visit my photo gallery) but you can read more about him and his fascinating story at: