LOS ANGELES - On its surface, new movie “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” tells of a fishery expert tasked with creating a salmon-filled stream in the Middle East country’s waterless desert, but underneath that description is a tale of making dreams come true.

The movie, which is based on Paul Torday’s 2006 debut novel of the same name, opens in major US cities on Friday with plans to expand around the United States in weeks to come.

Its star Ewan McGregor and director Lasse Hallstrom said they were drawn to the project, in part, by its tale of faith, hope and love, and after problems in production, it seems all three were necessary in bringing the tale to theatres.

“One of the observations of the script is that it is important to try to have faith and hope in making your most impossible ideas becoming possible,” Hallstrom told reporters recently.

McGregor portrays Fred Jones, a Londoner who is awakened from his gray, dismal life to help an Arab sheik pursue his dream of fly-fishing for salmon near his home in the desert.

Jones initially considers the idea an act of sheer folly, but as his adventure leads to love, he comes to understand that a task which at first seems wildly out of place can sometimes lead to a profound understanding of one’s own life.

Swedish director Hallstrom said he knows how powerful faith can be. “Moving to America, that was quite a leap,” recalled the director who gambled with his comfortable career back home when he moved to Hollywood on the heels of his 1985 breakout, “My Life as a Dog,” to pursue a career making U.S. films.

Hallstrom went on to direct movies such as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “Chocolat,” and he earned an Oscar nomination for his “The Cider House Rules.”

“You take leaps daily when you make a film,” he said. “You have to let the camera roll and just keep your belief that the magic moment might happen when you’ve almost given up on it.”