|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mike Newell|
|Produced by||Jerry Bruckheimer|
|Written by||Jordan Mechner
Gísli Örn Gardarsson
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Studio||Jerry Bruckheimer Films|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Release date(s)||May 28, 2010|
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is an upcoming 2010 action/adventure fantasy film written by Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard, directed by Mike Newell, and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The film is based on the 2003 video game of the same name, developed and released by Ubisoft Montreal. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, Gemma Arterton as Tamina, Ben Kingsley as Nizam, and Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar. Currently, it is the fourth film under the Walt Disney Pictures banner to receive a PG-13 rating by the MPAA (the first three being the Pirates of the Caribbean series) for intense sequences of violence and action. Despite the film being based on The Sands of Time, elements from Warrior Within and The Two Thrones are present.
Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a street urchin in 6th century Persia. After showing valor in battle, he is adopted by the king as his heir, so the king's two sons will not fight over the throne. He teams up with Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to rescue the Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that controls time, from the hands of the villainous nobleman, Nizam (Ben Kingsley).
In March 2004, the production company Jerry Bruckheimer Films sought to acquire feature film rights to the 2003 video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with the film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Under John August as executive producer, the series' creator Jordan Mechner was hired to write the script. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy served as a touchstone in how a theme park ride was converted into a film franchise. According to Mechner, "Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we're taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story." Mechner previously considered producing an animated film based on the games, but could not resist Disney and Bruckheimer's offer. In February 2006, Disney hired screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff to write a new script for Prince of Persia.
Early in 2007, Disney announced Prince of Persia as one of its tentpole films and by June had scheduled a release date for July 10, 2009 before having a final script or any actors attached. By November 2007, Disney entered negotiations with Mike Newell to direct the film based on a script by Mechner and Nachmanoff, though the studio held off production until the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike was resolved. Newell was fond of Bruckheimer's films, and loved the "exciting [and] immensely romantic" script, which reminded him of Lost Horizon. His assistant played the video games and gave the director key details. Mechner, in writing the script, re-conceived the storyline to shift the perspective from the interactive one experienced by video gamers to the non-interactive experience by film audiences. The screenwriter left out elements of the Prince of Persia video games Warrior Within and The Two Thrones and did not anticipate including these elements in the film's possible sequels.
When filming began, the film's release date was postponed to May 28, 2010 with the studio seeking enough time for the post-production process in designing the film's special effects. The profit margin on the Pirates of the Caribbean films was compromised by overspending as special effects teams rushed to complete the films for their release dates. Variety also ascribed the postponement to avoiding the potential 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike so the studio could ensure that the film leads to a "mega-franchise" similar to its successful Pirates of the Caribbean series. Other reasons for the release date change were that the film was originally scheduled a week before Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Disney needed more time to co-ordinate its marketing campaign.
On May 20, 2008 it was announced that Jake Gyllenhaal is to portray Dastan, the protagonist of the film. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer explained his choice, "He's a wonderful actor. He's someone I've been watching for a long time and somebody I've always wanted to work with." Gyllenhaal claims he "over-prepared" for the role, gaining five or six pounds of muscle. The actor says, "...I never knew how much they were going to ask me to do, so I just made sure I'd be hopefully able to do anything." Gemma Arterton was announced to play the role of protagonist Tamina, and Arterton reported she practiced horse back riding in Madrid before filming. Ben Kingsley is to portray the film's antagonist, Nizam. Alfred Molina is to portray a character named Sheik Amar, who becomes a mentor to the prince. Toby Kebbell is to play a prince of Persia, Dastan's brother, and head of the Persian army.
In March 2008, Mike Newell selected Morocco as a shooting location for Prince of Persia and also planned to film in Pinewood Studios. Production was scheduled to begin in mid-June 2008. By May 2008, actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were cast into the lead roles. With a new script by Jordan Mechner, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, and Boaz Yakin, filming began in July 2008 in Morocco as well as London. Eight weeks were spent in Morocco before the first unit moved to Pinewood.
The Prince of Persia poster made its debut as a background prop in a 2009 Bruckheimer production, Confessions of a Shopaholic, similar to how Akiva Goldsman incorporated a poster for his undeveloped Batman vs. Superman script for a joke in I Am Legend. The week of Confessions of a Shopaholic's release, Disney signed a merchandising deal with Lego for the film.
The trailer was released on the internet on November 2, 2009. In the trailer, it is shown that Nizam has released the Sands of Time (via the dagger) to destroy the Kingdom, thus forcing Dastan to take back the dagger and retrieve it to the 'Secret Guardian Temple', along with Princess Tamina. It also shows that using the dagger will cause half of the Prince's body to become 'flamed', a homage to the element in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (where the Prince is possessed by The Sands of Time). Disney will also release merchandise such as action figures, sets, and a replica dagger of time. It will also release a graphic novel called Prince Of Persia: Before The Sandstorm, which will act as a prequel to the film. A game is also being made by Ubisoft to come out around the same time as the film called Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. The teaser poster shows him wearing the outfit from warrior within.