The Saudi-owned TV network; the Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) is launching its new historical TV series Mamalek El-Nar (Kingdoms of Fire) starting Sunday 17 November. The series will also be available on Netflix.
The production, described as "the biggest Arab drama of 2019 reportedly worth $40m", is plotted to highlight the violence of the Ottomans' domination of the Arab world in the early 16th century during and after the last era of the Mamelukes.
Amid the ongoing political complications between the Saudis and Turks, the plot of the big-spending series aims to document the era antagonising the Ottomans, focusing on the bloody history of their first Sultan Selim I of Istanbul.
Written by Mohamed Suleiman Abdel-Malek and Ahmed Nada and directed by British Peter Weber, Mamalek El-Nar stars many Arab actors including Mahmoud Nasr, Kinda Hanna, Rashid Assaf, Mona Wassef and Egyptian star Khaled El-Nabawy who plays the role of Tuman Bay II, the last Sultan of the Mamelukes in Cairo.
"This character is the one I wanted to play the most in my entire life," the 53-year-old Egyptian actor was quoted in Al-Ahram on Thursday, adding that the series "is the fruit of 15 months of hard work, between August 2018 and October 2019."
"Tuman Bay is the man of the people who said the famous quote 'I am leaving and Egypt will remain'. He is the knight of all ages who sacrificed his life for the sake of his country and refused to rule for a long time before circumstances forced him out," added El-Nabawy, who was introduced to cinema by director Youssef Chahine in 1994 before starring in many important films and TV series, proving his talent as an actor.
El-Nabawy has also shown excitement over broadcasting on the Arab widely seen Saudi network, praising the "generous production and harmonised cooperation" with the directors and producers.
Mamalek El-Nar is produced by Genomedia, a production company founded in 2016 by Yasser Hareb, who describes their core mission as "to invest all of our resources to enlighten and inspire people for the sake of a better future for mankind."
“We are proud to announce the serial, which we hope will start a new phase in the Arab drama, and we are proud to begin its broadcast on MBC.” Hareb was quoted as saying to several Saudi media platforms.
British director Weber, whose debut was Girl with a Pearl Earring, starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth, and also known for Hannibal Rising; and Emperor, had assigned a big crew that besides the number of actors, included international names in the fields of battle design, decoration, clothing and makeup artists.
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