A new “bio-pic” of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, salallahu alayhi wa salam is set to be filmed in 2011 by the New York born film producer Barrie M. Osborne.
Living in New Zealand, Osborne is best known for his Academy Award winning films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Matrix, and more recently Water horse and The Warriors Way.
The Qatar company, Alnoor Holdings, approached Osborne to produce the as yet untitled film, and allocated him a £92 million budget for his production. The film is rumoured to have an English speaking Muslim cast. Alnoor Holdings chairman, Ahmed Abdullah al-Mustafa, founded the media company in 2009, and is dedicated to producing family orientated entertainment and educational programs. "The film will shed light on the Prophet's life since before his birth to his death," said Ahmed Abdullah Al-Mustafa, "It will highlight the humanity of Prophet Muhammad."
Osborne said of the film that it will be "an international epic production aimed at bridging cultures. The film will educate people about the true meaning of Islam".
Controversial Egyptian born cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been appointed as a technical advisor for the film to ensure that its production adheres to the traditional shariah requirements in all aspects of its depictions. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, salallahu alayhi wa salam will neither be depicted or heard in the film, but his presence inferred only, as it was in a previous bio-pic, The Message.
This film is also set to be remade in 2011, and renamed The Messenger of Peace. Based on the original, produced by the Syrian born director Moustapha Akkad, who was killed along with his daughter in a terrorist blast at a hotel in Amman Jordan in 2005. The original film sparked a wave of protests by Muslims, when Akkad premiered his film, and funded by Libyan leader Mu’ammir Gadafi, but it is hoped that Osborne will instil in his production, the dignity and respect it will require in order to reach out to a global audience.
Alnoor Holdings Qatar are also engaged in a joint venture with the Turkish media group Kalinos Holdings to produce a high quality $50 million dollar series on the great Caliph Sultan Muhammad Al Fatih.
The series will be produced as a 2.5 hour long movie, and 30 hours of episodes for broadcast in Arabic and Turkish, but will be dubbed into other languages as well.
The production endeavours to promote and revitalize values of respect, tolerance and freedom that were central to the inspirational and powerful leadership of Al Fatih as highlighted in the famous oath known as the 'Firman', the oldest document ratifying religious tolerant and providing a basis for a system of justice and religious rights in Europe.