From the beginning, Of Kings and Prophets has been billed as a story “told through the eyes of a battle-weary king, a powerful and resentful prophet and a resourceful young shepherd”. Since then, we have learned who will be playing the king and the shepherd — and now, at last, we know who is playing the prophet.
Deadline reports that Mohammad Bakri, an Israeli Arab of Palestinian descent, will play the prophet Samuel in the pilot episode, which could turn into a series.
This is not the first biblical character Bakri has played.
Nearly thirty years ago, he played the queen’s cousin Mordecai in Amos Gitai’s Esther. That film, which blurred the lines between the ancient and modern worlds, ended with the actors discussing their own stories of being forced to move from one country or culture to another, and Bakri said he was disappointed with Mordecai for using his position within the palace to encourage reprisal killings of the Jews’ enemies.Bakri also played Herod in last year’s The Savior, an Arabic production directed by Palestinian filmmaker Robert Savo and shot in Jordan and Bulgaria. The film is supposedly based on Luke’s gospel — just like Campus Crusade’s Jesus film — but the trailer below indicates that it may also include Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman from John’s gospel and Judas’s suicide from Matthew’s gospel:
Bakri was also in The Body, which starred Antonio Banderas as a priest who looks into the possibility that a recently discovered skeleton may be the bones of Jesus.
Past actors who have played Samuel include — in reverse chronological order — Paul Freeman (Mark Burnett & Roma Downey’s The Bible), Peter O’Toole (One Night with the King), Leonard Nimoy (The Bible Collection’s David), Denis Quilley (Bruce Beresford’s King David) and Vernon Dobtcheff (Roberto Rossellini’s The Messiah).