Star of Tudors and Vikings, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is all set to star in an upcoming period drama that will be a biopic about British explorer, Sir James Brooke. The movie will be called Rajah. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rhys Meyers will play the explorer, Josie Ho will play Madame Lim, Brooke’s former lover, and Chinese leader, and Dominic Monaghan will play Colonel Arthur Crookshank, Brooke’s cousin and comrade-in-arms.
The real-life role model for Joseph Conrad’s novel Lord Jim and Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King, Brooke was a patrician English explorer who escaped romantic scandal and the confines of Victorian society to explore the wildlife of 1840s Borneo. Brooke fell in love with this tropical paradise, fighting pirates and the Sultan’s enemies to win a crown as Rajah of Sarawak, where he ruled a jungle kingdom larger than England.
Brooke waged a lifetime crusade against piracy, slavery and headhunting, and was knighted by Queen Victoria for his bravery. But like Lawrence of Arabia, Brooke defied England when the British Empire tried to colonize Sarawak. In reprisal, Parliament later tried him for murder and piracy himself.
Rob Allyn, who wrote the script said, "I was always an admirer of the great adventure stories by Kipling and Conrad and he was an influence on both."