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Persian Enigma




Pre-Production on "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" Takes Off in Morocco as Casting Remains Unknown ...


photocompositionŠ DK -- After many rumors and counter rumors about the very first movie adaptation of the popular Computer Game Prince of Persia, it seems that Bloc Buster Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean,Pearl Harbor) and the Computer Games creator's have reached a deal with the British director of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  Adventure  Mike Newell who will be shooting the  "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" in Morocco in a co-production with Disney.

The Epic project is a live-action feature based on the videogame and based on a script by Jeffrey Nachmanoff ("The Day After Tomorrow") and the videogame's major creator Jordan Mechner. The videogame spawned six installments and numerous spin-offs, boosting Disney execs' hopes for a lucrative new tentpole.


The Choice of Morocco as a shooting location (Instead of Iran once known as Persia) will be a boost for the North African country's film biz. The director of the epic movie Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven Ridley Scott's "Body of Lies" and Paul Greengrass' untitled Iraq war thriller both recently wrapped significant shoots there.

"Producers are always looking for cheap places to shoot and Morocco is one of them," said Dune Films' Jimmy Abounouom (*), who is repping the Moroccan shoot for Disney.

Dune execs previously handled the Moroccan shoots of Mike Nichols film  "Charlie Wilson's War" starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts ( supposed to be set in Soviet War Torn Afghanistan of the 1980's) and Kimberly Peirce's "Stop-Loss."

"Prince of Persia" will also lens in Blighty's Pinewood Shepperton studios (**). Project is in pre-production. Abounouom told Variety he expects the Moroccan section of the shoot to start in mid-June, labor wrangles notwithstanding.


Mike Newell at the Helm of Prince of Persia along with Jerry Bruckheimer
as Producer

Sorry Folks, but I am afraid that little if nothing about the Prince of Persia movie no more than the Computer game will be truly based on any historical accuracy or research. Hollywood's vision of Persia is alas quite distorted and dissolved in an imaginary Orient that appears more like a patchwork between India and the Arabian Peninsula and where the city of Baghdad often substitutes Isfahan ( capital of Persia under Safavid rule) as Capital of Persia.


Are we as Persians/Iranians Screwed once again as we were in the Warner Epic "300" that created a rare outrage from the Iranian community both in and outside Iran ? Not really because the Persian Prince is the "hero" and positive role model of the piece and of the popular action packed computer game: A cross between Lara Croft and Sinbad. There is not much in common between this prince and us fellow mortals ( Persian or Not) than there is between Harry Potter and English school kids. What we should hope for at best is that the film will be the first of a just as an exciting series as the Harry Potter films have proved to be to date.


If frustration there is, it will be less about the Aesthetics of the movie but the fact that probably no Iranian film Star will be cast in the Role of the Persian Prince or any other characters in the film. Not that ethnicity or exact location shooting is important on film when in fact any actor should (and often can) portray a character who is very different from himself or herself as well as any film lot can substitute to a landscape or scenery that fits the film's needs ( After all David Lean Recreated Russia in Spain in Dr. Zhivago (who in turn was played by an Egyptian: Omar Sharif )). But well I guess It would be good to see a minimum of authenticity albeit in would be accents or physical characteristics. After all Even Harry Potter's School of Sorcerers looks like Oxford or Cambridge.


Well, who Knows ? In the Empire of Dreams Everything is Possible, Even in ... Persia!






Authors Notes:


(*) Official Website of Moroccan film Company Dunes Films ( The Mummy, The Mummy Returns)


(**) Official Website of The Legendary British PineWood Studio's where many James Bond and Harry Potter films are shot, remains a reference of craftsmanship in the motion Pictures industry.


Recommended Viewing:


Mike Newell speaks about his deep interest in directing Prince of Persia: Sands of Time  ( which has been confirmed since): See Video


Recommended Reading:


Persia? Ancient Persia's Virtual Absence in Hollywood by Darius KADIVAR

The Persian Empire Strikes Back! by Darius KADIVAR



About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant. He is international Correspondent for OCPC Magazine and contributes to the IC publications of The Middle East. and Persian Heritage.


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