Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Prophet Muhammad film announced

Anthony Quinn
The late Anthony Quinn appeared in the original Message film

A new film depicting the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad is to begin shooting soon, its producer has said.

In keeping with Muslim tradition, however, the faces and voices of the Prophet and his companions will not be seen or heard on screen.

The Messenger of Peace will be a remake of The Message, a 1977 film starring Anthony Quinn as Muhammad's uncle.

The events of the Prophet's life took place primarily in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, now in Saudi Arabia.

Producer Oscar Zoghbi said his team had "only the utmost respect" for the original film, directed by the late Moustapha Akkad.

"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."


"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," added screenwriter Ramsey Thomas.

The mistaken belief that Quinn was portraying Muhammad himself in the 1977 film sparked riots in the US in which two people died.

In the film, though, the Prophet was represented by gentle organ music and, in scenes where he was present, by subjective camerawork that depicted the action from his point of view.

Portrayals of Muhammad have triggered protests in recent years, notably in 2006 when Muslims around the world reacted angrily to satirical cartoons of the Prophet published in Denmark.

Earlier this year the planned UK publication of a novel about the Prophet Muhammad's child bride was postponed over fears it might incite violence.

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