Finally… A Hollywood film inspired by Ancient Egypt with an Egyptian cast

Shounaz Meky - Al Arabiya English
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Once again, Ancient Egypt inspires a new Hollywood movie, which will this time be shot in the land of pyramids, featuring an Egyptian cast and crew.

“The Chosen Guard” tells a modern day story about Sabaa, a man who is chosen by the ancient pharaohs to defend the Golden Temple, the last unopened relic in Egyptian antiquity.

Unlike many Hollywood movies featuring white lead actors in Arab roles, this film stars longtime Egyptian actor and martial artist Yousef Mansour, a press release by Action Film International has announced.

Mansour will also be writing and co-directing with Courteny Miller, an American award-winning writer and director. The film marks a comeback for Mansour sixteen years later after starring in the 2001 film, Badr.

Auditions will be held in Cairo next March as the shoot is set to begin in April. The thriller will include martial arts, big dance numbers and car chases.

The filmmakers said they intend to reflect the beauty of Egypt and its hospitable people, to encourage the audience to come and explore the country’s wonders themselves.

While shooting a film about ancient Egypt, in Egypt, makes perfect sense, this isn’t how it usually works.

Films about ancient Egypt are usually shot in settings built with unique resemblance to the actual monuments. Many of them, such as The Mummy trilogy, were actually shot in Morocco, one of the most important global film centers, especially for Arab-inspired movies.

‘Gods of Egypt’
‘Gods of Egypt’

Last year, the makers of "Gods of Egypt" came under fire for showcasing a mostly white cast.

“The procedure to obtain permission to shoot films in Egypt requires filmmakers to undergo a long bureaucratic procedure to acquire necessary permits,” Egyptian art critic Magda Khairallah told Al Arabiya English.

The process includes many steps, such as getting the film’s crew approved by the General Directorate for the Censorship of Artistic Works, which also needs to approve the script. Filmmakers also have to obtain outdoor shooting permits from the Interior Ministry’s Public Relations Sector.

“The process can be so intimidating for filmmakers, forcing them to turn away,” she added. “Until this moment there are no signs that the bureaucracy is going to change.”

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