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The Story
Filmmakers Take Jordan Mechner's Exotic World to New Heights

"We love bringing audiences into new worlds they haven't yet explored,” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer, "and ancient Persia is one of the most wonderful of them all. It has such a rich heritage of imagination and fantasy, and we've tried to honor that in ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.' We tackle epic films, from ‘Armageddon' to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,' and ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' falls right in line with those kinds of movies. It's got enormous imagination, enormous scope and phenomenal action.”

Jordan Mechner created his seminal "Prince of Persia” video game in 1989. "I was looking for a universe that hadn't yet been done in video games,” says Mechner. "The early days of video games were like the early days of cinema. We looked to previously established genres, like sword-and-sorcery and science fiction, to find things that would work in this new medium.”

Adds director Mike Newell: "I love the idea of it being a living myth that you are watching. This is a story that's absolutely real and extraordinary—a non-rational, non-physical universe as we now understand it. These things happen in this film.”

It wasn't Dastan's birthright to become a prince—it was his destiny. As a boy in 6th century Persia—one of the greatest empires the world has ever known— young Dastan is a street urchin, parentless and penniless. Threatened with severe punishment by a Persian Army captain after defending a youngster caught stealing an apple, Dastan is first spared, and then adopted, by the noble King Sharaman, who detects a touch of greatness in Dastan. Raised alongside Sharaman's sons Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), and taught the ways of wisdom and nobility by his adoptive father and beloved uncle, Nizam (Kingsley), Dastan retains his rough edges while growing into a strong young warrior.

"What appealed to me about the story is the notion that everybody has great potential,” says Kingsley. "And this is where I thought it would be a very affirming film, particularly for young people—to realize that whilst you might be a child of the streets, it doesn't mean that your potential is any less than that of a child from the palace. Our film is an examination of the potential of a child coming into adulthood, and the choices he has.”

Dastan, driven to prove his worth, leads the attack on Alamut, a peaceful holy city which is reported by spies to be hording weapons that are supplied to Persia's enemies. But in fact, Alamut holds a much deeper and greater treasure—the legendary Sands of Time, which gives mortals the ability to turn back time. Dastan comes into possession of an ancient glass-handled dagger, the key to accessing the Sands of Time, but King Sharaman is assassinated and Dastan is accused of the crime. Now on the run and desperate to clear his name, Dastan finds himself in an uneasy alliance with Tamina, a feisty young Alamut princess whose family has guarded the Sands of Time for centuries, and who will do whatever it takes to protect it.

Dastan and Tamina, who are like oil and water from the start, are challenged to survive the unforgiving desert and some even more unforgiving enemies—from the wily Sheikh Amar (Molina) and master African knife thrower Seso (Steve Toussaint) to the deadly attempts of the Hassansins— each one trained to kill with their own lethal techniques. It will take all of Dastan's bravery and fighting skills, as well as Tamina's cunning, in order to uncover the one truly responsible for the king's death, and for him to discover the nobility that truly lies within.

According to Gyllenhaal, the filmmakers had an interesting perspective about the film's fantasy backdrop. "It was Mike Newell and Jerry Bruckheimer's initial and brilliant idea that thi

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