Sam Neill and Max Irons will lead the cast of ITV’s epic new Tutankhamun mini series.
The four-part drama is based on the story of Howard Carter – played by Max Irons (Woman In Gold, The White Queen) – and his discovery of the tomb of one of Ancient Egypt’s forgotten pharaohs, the boy-king Tutankhamun.
Sam Neill (Peaky Blinders, Jurassic Park) will play the “dashing and eccentric” Lord Carnarvon, who keeps faith with Carter and continues to back his expeditions when no one else will.
Tutankhamun is written by Guy Burt (Jekyll and Hyde, The Bletchley Circle) and focuses on the legendary personal story of Carter, a solitary man on the edge of society who became an iconic figure and an unlikely hero.
Max Irons The White Queen
The official synopsis reads: “Set against the great sweep of ochre sands, looming cliffs and baking heat of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the story unfolds in 1905 when Carter, an eminent British archaeologist who we meet in his early 20’s, is fervently leading an expedition. Amidst the chaos scattered across the Valley floor, Carter’s grim determination to find lost antiquities is only too apparent. He has an easy manner with the Egyptian men who work alongside him, but when tempers fray Carter is hotheaded and puts the dig and his career in jeopardy.
“With his license to dig revoked by Cairo’s Antiquities Service, Carter spends years ostracised, dishevelled and living rough and resorting to selling previously discovered archaeological relics to buy food.
“A chance meeting with the privileged and fast living British aristocrat, Lord Carnarvon, brings a change of fortunes as the enthusiastic amateur needs an experienced archaeologist to help him with a series of random excavations. Carter and Carnarvon begin the most unlikely friendship, in spite of their differences in background and character. After years of searching for the tomb, Carter and Carnarvon successfully discover the last resting place of the boy-king in 1921 against all odds and at great personal expense.”
Directed by Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Hannibal Rising), Tutankhamun began filming in South Africa last month.
Ten strangers are invited to an isolated island by a mysterious host, and start to get killed one by one. Could one of them be the killer?
__ Agathy Christie
In three Acts (nights)
BBC / Acorn Productions
Douglas Booth, Charles Dance, Maeve Dermody, Burn Gorman, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson, Toby Stephens, Noah Taylor, Aidan Turner
Writer/director Jane Campion’s third feature unearthed emotional undercurrents and churning intensity in the story of a mute woman’s rebellion in the recently colonized New Zealand wilderness of Victorian times. Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), a mute who has willed herself not to speak, and her strong-willed young daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) find themselves in the New Zealand wilderness, with Ada the imported bride of dullard land-grabber Stewart (Sam Neill). Ada immediately takes a dislike to Stewart when he refuses to carry her beloved piano home with them. But Stewart makes a deal with his overseer George Baines (Harvey Keitel) to take the piano off his hands. Attracted to Ada, Baines agrees to return the piano in exchange for a series of piano lessons that become a series of increasingly charged sexual encounters. As pent-up emotions of rage and desire swirl around all three characters, the savage wilderness begins to consume the tiny European enclave. Campion imbues her tale with an over-ripe tactility and a murky, poetic undertow that betray the characters’ confined yet overpowering emotions: Ada’s buried sensuality, Baines’ hidden tenderness, and Stewart’s suppressed anger and violence. The story unfolds like a Greek tragedy of the Outback, complete with a Greek chorus of Maori tribesmen and a blithely uncaring natural environment that envelops the characters like an additional player. Campion directs with discreet detachment, observing one character through the glances and squints of another as they peer through wooden slats, airy curtains, and the spaces between a character’s fingers. She makes the film immediate and urgent by implicating the audience in characters’ gazes. And she guides Hunter to a revelatory performance of silent film majesty. Relying on expressive glances and using body language to convey her soulful depths, Hunter became a modern Lillian Gish and won an Oscar for her performance, as did Paquin and Campion for her screenplay. Campion achieved something rare in contemporary cinema: a poetry of expression told in the form of an off-center melodrama. – Paul Brenner