Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?


A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Friday, March 31, 2017

What about the Zulu Roles?

In yesterday's post I playfully considered actors who could play the roles in the John Dunn story. I focused on the main characters John Dunn and Catherine Pierce. But what about the Zulus? After all, they're main characters too. Especially King Cetshwayo, his brother Prince Dabulamanzi, and the Zulu general Utshingwayo. And when it comes to black characters in the story, there aren't just Zulu characters, there are also non-Zulu black Africans who have major roles, like Dunn's black friends Xegwana and Lokotwayo. And many more.

Djimon Housou could be a good fit
as the Zulu general Utshingwayo

I figured if there were to be a movie about this story, it would be filmed in Zululand, like the movies Zulu and Zulu Dawn, and the TV miniseries Shaka Zulu. All were filmed on location, and all featured African actors. So I figure this movie or show would also employ African actors rather than black American actors to play the parts. And I also figure that would be fitting.

But I do have some suggestions. Firstly, I've always liked Djimon Hounsou, who I first saw in Ridley Scott's Gladiator movie. Everything he's been in, he's been great. He's Beninese, which is not South African, but still, it's African. And since he's an older dude now, (age 52) I suppose he could play the part of one of the older Zulus in the story, like Utshingwayo, who was the older general who led the Zulus to victory in the battle at iSandlwana.

And what about King Cetshwayo?  I might suggest David Oyelowo.  He's actually English, but he's the son of Nigerian parents. So that's close enough to being African, I would say.

David Oyelowo could be right
as King Cetshwayo

And if you've seen any photos of the real Cetshwayo, there's a resemblance here. The only problem is that David Oyelowo is listed as being 5' 9" tall. The real King Cetshwayo is said to be a pretty big dude, like around 6' 2". That might not bode well, especially if David Oyelowo is cast beside Henry Cavill as John Dunn. And since Henry Cavill is 6' 2", then that means he'd be noticeably taller than David. That wouldn't be right. I think Hollywood could fix that, but  I'd rather have an actor who was closer in height to the real Cetshwayo. Other than being the right height, the actor must exude a kingliness about him. He must emanate royalty. I'm not sure David here does that.


Hisham Tawfiq could play any of the
other roles in the John Dunn story. But I think
Lokotwayo might be the best role for him.

There is another black actor I happen to like. Hisham Tawfiq. Unfortunately, Hisham is not African, he's American. I've only seen him in the TV show  Blacklist. Yeah, I'm talking about good ol' Dembe -- Red Redington's bodyguard. He's great in that show, in which he plays an African. So I would have no problem for one of the many black roles to go to Hisham Tawfiq. He might be right for the role of Prince Dabulamanzi, or maybe Lokotwayo or even Xegwana. All three roles would be major roles in the story I wrote, and all were major players in the John Dunn story in real life.

Sure there's many more black roles in the story. There's the aged Masipula who any aged black actor could handle. There's Masipula's son, Sigodi. Sigodi's friend Mkasona, and the list goes on. Here's hoping I can rethink all of these roles. That is if a BBC movie producer decides to revisit the Zulu story. It's not unprecedented. I've already pointed that out. Stay tuned.

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