Jonathan Rhys Meyers, star of THE TUDORS and MATCH POINT, will play Sir James Brooke in RAJAH, a Margate House Film shooting this fall on location in the jungles of Sarawak, Borneo, where Brooke’s remarkable exploits took place. Josie Ho (CONTAGION, DREAM HOME) will co-star as Madame Lim, Brooke’s former lover and Chinese leader. Dominic Monaghan (STAR WARS: RISE OF SKYWALKER, LORD OF THE RINGS, X-MEN: WOLVERINE) also co-stars as Colonel Arthur Crookshank, Brooke’s cousin and comrade-in-arms.
Directed by Michael Haussman, whose body of work includes festival selections at Sundance, Cannes and Venice, as well as award-winning music videos for top artists like Madonna, Shakira, Usher, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake. The script was written by the film’s Producer-Writer Rob Allyn, based on Brooke’s diaries, letters, first-hand historical accounts and archives of The Brooke Heritage Trust, who serve as the film’s technical advisors.
The real-life role model for Joseph Conrad’s novel LORD JIM and Rudyard Kipling’s THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, Brooke was a patrician English explorer who escaped romantic scandal and the confines of Victorian society to explore the wildlife of 1840’s Borneo. Brooke fell in love with this tropical paradise, fighting pirates and the Sultan’s enemies to win a crown as Rajah of Sarawak, where he ruled a jungle kingdom larger than England.
Brooke waged a lifetime crusade against piracy, slavery and headhunting, and was knighted by Queen Victoria for his bravery. But like Lawrence of Arabia, Brooke defied England when the British Empire tried to colonize Sarawak. In reprisal, Parliament later tried him for murder and piracy himself. Hollywood has been trying to make a feature film about Brooke’s swashbuckling true-life story since the days of Errol Flynn, who pursued the project for years.
Rob, Jake and Conor Allyn are producing with their company Margate House Films, in association with Josie Ho and Conroy Chan with their company 852 Films. The picture will be made with the support of the Sarawak Tourism Board and the federal FIMI film rebate of Malaysia. Shooting starts in Borneo on September 24 and wraps late October.
The Allyns are represented by Chris Tricarico of Tricarico Chavez. Rhys Meyers is represented by ICM Partners. Josie Ho, Conroy Chan and Pang Chun Chan are represented by John Maatta of Eisner & Frank and David Unger of Artists International. Unger is an Executive Producer of RAJAH and also represents Haussman, along with Wendy Kirk of Ziffren Brittenham. Monaghan is represented by Buchwald, Link Entertainment, United Agents and attorney Kevin Yorn.