As a Bible-movie connoisseur, I could not help but notice the first few paragraphs of this Variety story:
Egypt’s Media Production City has announced three projects set to lens in the 21-million-square-feet studio complex.
Producer John Heyman’s $130 million “Nefertiti” project, Exodus Films’ $15 million “The Exodus Scrolls” and Blighty shingle Young Legends’ $5 million “Young Cleopatra” have all inked deals with Egypt’s largest film complex.
A media free zone with 31 video and cinema studios, the complex was opened by government decree in February 2000. Lensing on “Young Cleopatra” is set to start in November. “Nefertiti” is slated to start its two-month shoot in February. The long-in-gestation mega-project is a co-production with Egyptian shingle Misr Intl. . . .
Initially, my eyes were drawn to The Exodus Scrolls. Based on the titles alone, it would seem that this studio is specializing in historical epics, so of course I wondered if this particular movie might be about Moses and company — either by depicting the events of the Exodus directly, or by using them as background to another sort of story, a la Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
But a few seconds of Googling reveals that Nefertiti itself may be about Moses, on some level. The film will be based on Ahmed Osman’s book Moses and Akhenaten: The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus, which apparently posits that these two men were actually the same person. And an item at Osman’s website states that this film will be about “the love affair between pharaonic Queen Nefertiti and the Biblical Prophet Moses”.
Given that controversies have erupted in Egypt over attempts to portray biblical heroes in film — which is forbidden by certain Islamic traditions — I would not be surprised if this film played down the Moses angle and played up the Akhenaten angle.
Interestingly, this would not be Heyman’s first movie to deal with ancient or biblical history; he was also a producer on Jesus (1979), Campus Crusade’s word-for-word adaptation of Luke.