Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a live-action movie based on the video game of the same name. It was released on May 28th, 2010, being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for Walt Disney Pictures. The script was written by Jordan Mechner, with Mike Newell directing. In this fantasy adventure, Jake Gyllenhaal will play Dastan, a young prince in sixth century Persia who must join forces with Tamina (Gemma Arterton), a feisty and exotic princess, to prevent the villainous nobleman Nizam (Ben Kingsley) from possessing the Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world.
Dastan, a street urchin, is crowned prince and named heir to the kingdom after showing valor in battle. The king does not choose one of his sons in order to avoid a situation in which they would fight over the throne, possibly to the death. Dastan must team up with the feisty princess Tamina to keep the dagger of time, a powerful weapon of the gods, from the the king's evil brother, Nizam. The plot follows Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), a street urchin in Nasaf, within the Persian Empire in the sixth century. After showing courage in the market place baffel, he is adopted by the king as his third son after Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell). Dastan grows up as part of the royal family with "no royal blood and no eye for the throne."
Fifteen years later, the brothers lead the Persia army in an attack on the sacred city of Alamut, under the assumption that the city's people are selling weapons to their enemies, as shown by Nizam (Ben Kingsley), the King's brother and adviser. As Garsiv leads the initial assault, Dastan decides to lead a sneak attack with his friend Bis (Reece Ritchie) against the orders of his brother. He manages to open the eastern gate of Alamut and prevents further casualties. During the fight in the city, Dastan kills one of Princess Tamina's (Gemma Arterton) guards who was in the possession of the mythical Dagger of Time. The dagger gives its owner the ability to go back in time for a short period so that the user can try to correct any mistake or redo any moment. Later on, Tamina is captured and is offered as a wife for Tus, which would make the city of Alamut a part of the Persian Empire. The Persians celebrate their victory and during the celebration Tamina is offered as a wife to Prince Dastan. Dastan is very hesitant on this and leaves that subject and decides it's time to present the king with a gift. Prince Dastan is fooled into presenting a toxic gown — seemingly given to him by Tus — to King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup), which burns and kills the king. Prince Dastan is held as the perpetrator of his father's murder. He escapes the castle with Princess Tamina while Bis, his best friend, is killed trying to save them. Together, they embark on a journey — the Prince wants to prove his innocence, while Tamina wants to safeguard the Dagger of Time . On the first night, Tamina attempts to kill the prince and recover the dagger, but Dastan accidentally activates the dagger and learns about its ability to rewind time, and in doing so, prevents Tamina from attacking. Dastan believes that Tus knew about the dagger and framed Dastan for their father's murder in an attempt to seize the throne and the dagger, thus becoming the most powerful ruler of Persia. During their journey, the duo meets a group of merchant-bandits, including entrepreneur and ostrich racing-organizer Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina) with his friend Seso (Steve Toussaint) who hails from the Ngbaka, masters of the throwing knives. Dastan offers Tamina up as a slave in return for their hospitality. However, the bandits try to take the Dagger of Time and take Dastan to the newly crowned Tus because of the reward for his capture; they fail in the process, while the two escape.
Dastan and Tamina return to Persia for King Sharaman's funeral. Dastan tries to convince his uncle Nizam that he was not the cause of his father's death, only to discover the dagger was taken by Tamina. Instead, he notices the burns on Nizam's hands, which indicate he was the one who set up the murder of the King. Furthermore, Nizam has set up an ambush for Dastan along the Persian streets, and after a conflict with his brother Garsiv, Dastan escapes. Dastan catches up with Tamina and explains that the villainous brother of the King, Nizam was behind it all. It's revealed that the attack was based on false allegations provided by Nizam and promoted with a motive to attain the Dagger of Time and use it with the massive Sandglass, which is hidden under the city of Alamut. This way, Nizam would go back in time before he had saved the King Sharaman from being attacked by a lion and undo the act, hence ensure that he becomes the King of Persia. However, Tamina reveals that the Sandglass is the vessel holding the Sands of Time, which the Gods conjured to punish humanity for its sins. A pure hearted girl, offering her life, convinced them to seal the sands; should the Dagger of Time be used, the sands would be released and destroy the entire world. The pair then put aside their differences and agree to work together to protect the dagger.
Meanwhile, back in Persia, Nizam, aware that Dastan knows he was responsible, tries to convince the newly-crowned King Tus and Garsiv that Dastan is trying to overthrow them and must be killed without a trial to avoid a rebellion. When this fails, Nizam hires Hassansins, a group of highly-skilled warriors that were the ancient Persian equivalent of a black ops paramilitary that Nizam kept hidden after Sharaman had the group disbanded. Dastan and Tamina are again captured by Sheik Amar, Seso, and their group because of the chaos they caused back at the valley. Sheik intends to claim the reward for turning them in to renew his business. But that night, when everyone is asleep, the Hassansin leader (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) attacks the group in an oasis by controlling a number of vipers. Many of the group die, but Dastan uses the dagger to rewind time, and, foreseeing the attack, manages to kill all the snakes single-handedly, saving Seso in the process. The Hassansin leader then leaves in a sand dervish.
The next day, the pair, now accompanied by Sheik and Seso, travel to the secret sanctuary in the mountains near India, where it's possible to seal the dagger by returning it to the stone where it came from. In order to do so, Tamina would have to sacrifice herself, but it fails as they run into Garsiv's men. Dastan, however, manages to persuade his brother that he is innocent, only for Garsiv to be killed by a flurry of spike-knives thrown by a Hassansin. The Hassansin's leader manages to snatch the Dagger of Time from Tamina by using a trained snake. Eventually, Dastan is saved from the last Hassansin by Garsiv, who then succumbs to his injuries. Tamina and Dastan, as well as Sheik Amar and Seso, return to Alamut to reveal the truth about Nizam and the dagger to Tus. First, they must get the dagger, which is kept in the sacred temple, guarded by the Hassansin who killed Garsiv. Seso, the master of throwing knives, fights the spike-wielding Hassansin to obtain the dagger. He manages to kill the Hassansin after a well aimed throw, yet is fatally wounded in the process. Seso manages to throw the Dagger out of the window to Sheik and Dastan before dying. Sheik Amar then distracts the guards by serving as a decoy while Dastan shows the truth about the Dagger to his brother Tus by killing himself, only to have Tus rewind time with the Dagger. Afterward, Tus is killed by Nizam, and Dastan is incapacitated by another Hassansin. The Dagger is once again in Nizam's hands, but Dastan manages to defeat the Hassansin with Tamina's help. She realises that the Hassansin had been a spy inside the city of Alamut and must have been the one who told Nizam about the Dagger. Nizam goes to the Sandglass caves beneath Alamut, as Dastan and Tamina race to stop him.
Nizam has found the Sandglass Added by Princessfarah Tamina opens a secret gate leading to the chamber. Shortly after they encounter the leader of the Hassansins, however, after a close fight, Dastan gets the upper hand and stabs the Hassansin before throwing him into the chasm. Dastan and Tamina then kiss. They then manage to reach Nizam as he pierces the Sandglass with the Dagger. During the final confrontation, Tamina slips into the bottomless pit as she asserts that it's Dastan's destiny to carry on and stop Nizam. Dastan fights Nizam as they both hold their hands on the Dagger. Dastan then uses the
Dastan and Nizam fights over the dagger as time turns back Added by Princessfarah Dagger's button to open the Sands of Time container and use its power against Nizam. The Sandglass slowly cracks and the sandstorm is shown destroying Alamut. Dastan is then able to use the Dagger and turn back the time as the Sandglass breaks, ending up at the point when he first held the Dagger during the siege of Alamut. Dastan uses his knowledge to reveal Nizam's evil plan to his brothers, gaining their acceptance by revealing what Tus told him about the meeting with their father prior to the attack. Exposed, Nizam attempts to kill Dastan but ends up dying by Tus' blade. After apologizing for the ransacking of her city, Tus suggests that perhaps Tamina should become Dastan's wife as a sign of good will. The Prince returns the Dagger of Time to her as a gift, as she looks at him surprised. The two of them are next shown talking to each other and Tamina expressing her surprise about Dastan's sudden change in behavior and hinting that he may have discovered something to which he replies that they are in control of their own destiny. The movie ends showing the two riding on horse as the sun sets in the Persian Desert.
- Jake Gyllenhaal - Prince Dastan , a sixth-century Persian prince and the film's protagonist.
- Gemma Arterton - Tamina, a feisty and exotic princess and the films deutoragonist.
- Ben Kingsley - Nizam, an evil nobleman, and the film's main antagonist.
- Alfred Molina - Sheik Amar, an enterpreneur, a mentor to Prince Dastan and an ostrich-racing organizer.
- Toby Kebbel - Garsiv, prince Dastan's brother, a Persian prince, and head of the Persian army.
- Richard Coyle - Tus, the eldest of the princes and heir to the throne.
- Ronald Pickup - Sharaman, the father of the three princes of Persia.
- Steve Toussaint - Seso, an african native that is working for Sheik Amar.
In March 2004, the production company Jerry Bruckheimer Films sought to acquire feature film rights to the 2003 video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with the film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Under John August as executive producer, the series' creator Jordan Mechner was hired to write the script. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy served as a touchstone in how a theme park ride was converted into a film franchise. According to Mechner, "Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we're taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story." Mechner previously considered producing an animated film based on the games, but could not resist Disney and Bruckheimer's offer. In February 2006, Disney hired screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff to write a new script for Prince of Persia. Early in 2007, Disney announced Prince of Persia as one of its tentpole films and by June had scheduled a release date for July 10, 2009, before having a final script or any actors attached. By November 2007, Disney entered negotiations with Mike Newell to direct the film based on a script by Mechner and Nachmanoff, though the studio held off production until the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike was resolved. Newell was fond of Bruckheimer's films, and loved the "exciting [and] immensely romantic" script, which reminded him of Lost Horizon. His assistant played the video games and gave the director key details. Mechner, in writing the script, re-conceived the storyline to shift the perspective from the interactive one experienced by video gamers to the non-interactive experience by film audiences. The screenwriter left out elements of the Prince of Persia video games Warrior Within and The Two Thrones and did not anticipate including these elements in the film's possible sequels.
When filming began, the film's release date was postponed to May 28, 2010, with the studio seeking enough time for the post-production process in designing the film's special effects. The profit margin on the Pirates of the Caribbean films was compromised by overspending as special effects teams rushed to complete the films for their release dates. Variety also ascribed the postponement to avoiding the potential 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike so the studio could ensure that the film leads to a "mega-franchise" similar to its successful Pirates of the Caribbean series. Other reasons for the release date change were that the film was originally scheduled a week before Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Disney needed more time to co-ordinate its marketing campaign.
On May 20, 2008, it was announced that Jake Gyllenhaal would portray Dastan, the protagonist of the film. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer explained his choice, "He's a wonderful actor. He's someone I've been watching for a long time and somebody I've always wanted to work with." Gyllenhaal claims he "over-prepared" for the role, gaining five or six pounds of muscle. The actor says, "…I never knew how much they were going to ask me to do, so I just made sure I'd be hopefully able to do anything." Gemma Arterton was announced to play the role of protagonist Tamina, and Arterton reported she practiced horse back riding in Madrid before filming. Sir Ben Kingsley was to portray the film's antagonist, Nizam. Alfred Molina was to portray a character named Sheik Amar, who becomes a mentor to the prince. Toby Kebbell was to play Prince Garsiv, Dastan's brother, and head of the Persian army. The leading characters of the film all speak with a recognisable British English accent, albeit with a slight Middle Eastern colour. Filming
In March 2008, director Mike Newell selected Morocco as a shooting location for Prince of Persia and also planned to film in Pinewood Studios. Production was scheduled to begin in mid-June 2008. By May 2008, actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were cast into the lead roles. With a new script by Jordan Mechner, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, and Boaz Yakin, filming began in July 2008 in Morocco as well as London. Eight weeks were spent in Morocco before the first unit moved to Pinewood. The film is intended to be the first in a seven film series
The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time soundtrack features music from and inspired by the popular action-adventure film. Alanis Morissette composed the theme song for the film, named "I Remain". The score was written by composer Harry Gregson-Williams.
1. "The Prince of Persia" 5:20 2. "Raid On Alamut" 6:32 3. "Tamina Unveiled" 2:34 4. "The King and His Sons" 2:59 5. "Dastan and Tamina Escape" 4:31 6. "Journey Through the Desert" 2:55 7. "Ostrich Race" 0:59 8. "Running from Sheikh Amar" 3:27 9. "Trusting Nizam" 4:37 10. "Visions of Death" 1:46 11. "So, You're Going To Help Me?" 2:20 12. "The Oasis Ambush" 1:54 13. "Hassansin Attack" 2:59 14. "Return To Alamut" 3:05 15. "No Ordinary Dagger" 4:39 16. "The Passages" 3:09 17. "The Sands of Time" 3:58 18. "Destiny" 3:38 19. "I Remain" (performed by Alanis Morissette, writen by Alanis Morissette and Mike Elizondo) 4:57
- Before Jake Gyllenhaal was cast in the leading role, both Orlando Bloom and Zac Efron were rumored for the part.
- Rey-Phillip Santos was replaced by actor Toby Kebbell due to a motorcycle accident on location.
- Screenwriter Robin Morningstar approached the property owner Jordan Mechner with a script based on the original 1989 game of the franchise, the aim being working as a team to get a film made. He and his materials were abruptly exorcised before Disney bought the film rights to the series. The Disney film focuses on the much-later "Sands Of Time" story arc, whilst the game canon seemingly reboots well clear of its origins with a new game titled simply "Prince Of Persia". Robin Morningstar's script, much like the original 1989 canon, is out in the cold. (This was referred to briefly during interview in Retro Gamer Magazine Issue 51.)
- In February 2008, Iranian star Golshifteh Farahani was invited to do a screen test in London along with Gemma Arterton for the role of Tamina but she was arrested at the airport by the Iranian authorities & banned from leaving the country for six months because she had played in Ridley Scott's Body of Lies (2008)
- This film marks the second PG-13 rated movie under the Walt Disney Pictures label in the United States. The first was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).
- The "Hassansins" are obviously modeled on the famous Islamic mystery cult called the Hashashin from which the word "assassin" is derived given their use of terror and assassinations as political leverage. Their leader was named Hassan Ibn Sabbah.
- The Assassin's Creed series, also made by Ubisoft, is based off the concept of the "Hassassins".
- At the first UK screening at the Disney Roadshow, Director Mike Newell stated that, as he has known 'Jake Gyllenhall' since Jake was 7 years old, he always wanted Jake for the part. He went on to say that he selected Gemma Arterton because of "how very old seeing the back of her beautiful neck" made him feel.
- Dastan, the Prince's name in this movie means "Champion" or "Hero" in Farsi. However, it means "The Trickster" in Persian.