THE last man – indeed the only man to make a movie about Mohammed that didn’t send Muslims into paroxysms of rage – was Syrian-born Moustapha Akkad.
In 1976 he achieved international acclaim when he produced and directed the religious historical epic Mohammed: Messenger of God.
Mohammed himself was never seen or heard in the film, in keeping with Islamic sensitivities, but featured Anthony Quinn as his uncle Hamza.
Ironically, Akkad – who holds a place dear to the hearts of horror movie fans for his part in the creation of all eight films in the Halloween series – died in an al-Queda suicide-bomb attack in Amman Jordon on November 9, 2005.
His 34-year-old daughter Rima later died of her injuries sustained in the attack on a luxury hotel. The two were part of a group attending an Islamic wedding ceremony. At least 56 people died in the attack.
Today we learn that Akkad’s Mohammed’s movie is to be remade as The Messenger of Peace.
In a statement, producer Oscar Zoghbi, who worked on the original, said:
We have only the utmost respect for Akkad’s work but technology in cinema has advanced since the 1970s and this latest project will employ modern film techniques in its renewal of the first film’s core messages.
The film’s scriptwriter, Ramsey Thomas, added:
In the 21st century there is a real need for a film that emotionally engages audiences on the journey that led to the birth of Islam.
A spokesman for the producers said in an email to Reuters that details of the funding and production of the planned film would be released “in due course.”