KUCHING: Famed Hollywood actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers is set to play the role of the first White Rajah of Sarawak, Sir James Brooke, in the upcoming movie titled ‘The White Rajah’.
According to an exclusive report by online entertainment portal The Hollywood Reporter, Rhys Meyers, who is of Irish descent, has been cast as the swashbuckling explorer turned king of Sarawak from 1841 until his death in 1868.
Rhys Meyers is renowned for his roles in blockbuster films such as Mission: Impossible III, Match Point and Bend It Like Beckham. The Golden Globe winner has also played the role of legendary singer Elvis Presley in the biographical miniseries titled Elvis.
Other actors and actresses named in the report include Hong Kong actress Josie Ho as Madame Lim – Brooke’s former lover and Chinese leader – while Dominic Monaghan, who played Merry in The Lord of the Rings triology, will play Colonel Arthur Crookshank, Brooke’s cousin and comrade-in-arms.
Malaysian actors Bront Palarae, Shahezy Sam and Rahim Razali have also reportedly been cast in the indie production, which will be directed by Michael Haussman, the online portal reported.
Brooke has been a topic of fascination and an icon in Sarawak, where his descendants have immortalised the family’s legacy in the recently established Brooke Gallery, located within Fort Margherita here.
His adventures and exploits, which saw him leaving his homeland of England to travel to faraway Borneo, where he fought pirates and slavery, winning the favour of the Sultan of Brunei and a crown of his own in Sarawak, have become nothing short of legendary.
Rhys Meyers is set to stay true to Brooke’s character by speaking in a variety of local dialects in the film, and the script will reportedly be helped along by material contained in Brooke’s personal diaries and letters, as well as the archives of The Brooke Heritage Trust.
Shooting for the film is expected to begin on Sept 24, and estimated to end in October, the report added.