Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 10:29 UK

Hollywood tackles 'King of Picts'

By Steven McKenzie
Highlands and Islands reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Actor Jamie Foxx
Peter Berg directed The Kingdom starring Jamie Foxx

The director of Hancock and The Kingdom has been signed up to make a film about a fictional king of the Picts.

Universal have enlisted Peter Berg to develop the project about warrior Bran Mak Morn.

Morn was the creation of Texan author, Robert E Howard who also wrote the Conan the Barbarian books.

The Picts dominated Scotland north of the Firth of Clyde from the 4th to the 9th centuries AD. Their symbol stones continue to intrigue historians.

Berg directed The Kingdom starring Jamie Foxx and Will Smith in superhero adventure Hancock.

Empire and Variety magazines, along with websites dedicated to film, have been reporting on the development of the new project about the fictional king, who leads forces against the Roman army in ancient Britain.

The Internet Movie Database said it was expected to hit cinemas in 2010.

The very fact that so little is know is enormously appealing to a writer, because they're free to fill in the blanks from their own imagination
Richard Clements
Hi-Ex organiser

The scriptwriter involved is John Romano, who also wrote the script for Intolerable Cruelty starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Howard's other creations include Turlough Dubh O'Brien, an 11th century Gaelic pirate.

Known as Picti by the Romans, meaning painted ones in Latin, northern tribes of Picts were dominant in Dark Age Scotland.

They successfully fought off conquests by the Romans and Angles.

Pictish symbol stones can be found across Scotland with a stone carving called the Rhynie Man among the best known.

Richmond Clements, an organiser of the Highlands comic book convention Hi-Ex, said the film could bring the story of the Picts to the attention of an international audience.

He said: "The Picts are such a mysterious and romantic notion it's surprising that they haven't been mined for literature more than they already have.

"The very fact that so little is know is enormously appealing to a writer, because they're free to fill in the blanks from their own imagination."

Mr Clements added: "Howard was very good at lifting bits and pieces from what little is known of the Picts then expanding it at making it his own.

"The only other comparable writer I can think of who can perform this feat and not come off looking like a lazy writer is Pat Mills, whose Celtic warrior Slaine MacRoth appears in 2000AD comic."


SEE ALSO
Rare excavations at Pictish stone
26 Aug 08 |  Tayside and Central
Experts return to 'power centre'
04 Jul 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Walk and debate on Pictish battle
16 Sep 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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