23 Sep – Filming for "Rajah", the Malaysia-based Hollywood production that revolves around the first White Rajah of Sarawak, begins today in the Bornean state.
The whole Borneo 744 complex in Sarawak's capital city Kuching, as reported by Star2, currently houses the project's workshops, production offices and sound stages.
The filming's duration is estimated to be more than a month, as it is expected to wrap by the end of October.
Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers is starring as the movie's main character, Sir James Brooke. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news over the weekend, revealing the actor's involvement in the movie.
The 42-year-old, who has appeared in movies like "Mission: Impossible III" and "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" and was most recently seen leading sci-fi thriller "Awake", joins a cast that features local stars Bront Palarae, Shaheizy Sam and Rahim Razali in major roles.
The cast also includes Sarawakian actors Peter John and Kahar Jimi, Indonesia's Atiqah Hasiholan, Yusuf Mahardika and Samo Rafael, as well as Hong Kong singer-turned-actress Josie Ho and English actor Dominic Monaghan ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker").
Bront stars as Brooke's rival Pengiran Indera Mahkota, Shaheizy as Brooke's Malay companion Subu, and Rahim as the Sultan of Brunei.
Meanwhile, Atiqah plays Brooke's love interest Fatima, Josie plays Brooke's former lover Madame Lim and Monaghan plays Brooke's cousin and comrade-in-arms Colonel Arthur Crookshank.
Helmed by award-winning music director Michael Haussman, the script is written by Rob Allyn, who is also producing along with Jake and Conor Allyn under their Margate House Films banner, in association with Josie Ho and Conroy Chan's 852 Films.
Allyn has long been working on the movie adaptation, after chancing upon a book on Brooke while in Singapore. He's previously held a press conference in 2013 to announce the movie's production, then titled "White Rajah".
The movie is being made with the support of the Sarawak Tourism Board and the Film In Malaysia Incentive's rebate on Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure.
The Brooke Heritage Trust, who serves as the film's technical advisory, provides Brooke's diaries, letters, first-hand historical accounts and its archives for the movie's reference in order to assure its historical authenticity.
Brooke, the legendary British explorer who was the real-life model for Rudyard Kipling's novel "The Man Who Would Be King" and Joseph Conrad's "Lord Jim", founded the Raj of Sarawak in Borneo after falling in love with the tropical paradise. He fought off pirates and the enemies of the Sultan, who then made him the Rajah of Sarawak. He ruled from 1841 (though the official declaration was only made in 1842) until his death in 1868.