Speaking of biblical epics starring Omar Sharif, it was announced two days ago that ABC is putting its Moses mini-series into production in Morocco in just a little under two weeks. The Ten Commandments will star Mission Impossible 2‘s Dougray Scott as Moses, Priest‘s Linus Roache as his brother Aaron, and Sharif as his father-in-law Jethro, report the Hollywood Reporter, ComingSoon.net and various other sources.
The choice of title is interesting. There have been several movies about Moses, but only two, I believe, that bore this specific title, both of which were produced by Cecil B. DeMille, one in 1923 and the other in 1956 (my review). (Apparently there was also a stage musical of this name starring Val Kilmer, who had earlier provided the voice of Moses for The Prince of Egypt; my review.) Ten months ago, the Hollywood Reporter said producer Mark Gordon and screenwriter Charles Randolph (who wrote the execrable Life of David Gale) were pondering a “serious, research-based” remake of DeMille’s films. But it looks like that job has fallen to Robert Halmi Sr., whose Hallmark Entertainment has churned out many adaptations of classic stories — including an unbelievably campy version of Noah’s Ark (1999; my review), starring Jon Voight as Noah and F. Murray Abraham as Lot (yes, that Lot).
Incidentally, it seems this new film may add a more “moderate” Egyptian to the story. The English Patient‘s Naveen Andrews has been hired to play Menerith, a step-brother of Moses’ who is also “a high official in Ramses’ army,” and who Moses implores “to join him in a fight to reclaim his destiny as leader and liberator of the Hebrew people.” So it probably won’t be a simple case of good Hebrew over here versus bad Egyptian over there.
FWIW, I wrote an article on Moses movies for the February 1999 issue of Bible Review, but it has not been available online for some time; I really should put it up somewhere at some point. In the meantime, here are some of my other earlier blog posts that have dealt with Moses movies in some way or other: