Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 30, 2008 — In a press statement released on October 28, 2008, from Dubai, claims were made by former employees of the late filmmaker Moustapha Akkad, in which plans were underway to remake the classic film, â€œThe Message,â€? also known as â€œMohammed: Messenger of God.â€? The original film was released in the U.S. in l977 by Akkad, a renowned filmmaker, and his company Trancas International Films. However, this statement from Dubai is simply false, reports Trancas International Films, the authorized representative of â€œThe Message,â€? and the company founded by the late Akkad. Trancas has not endorsed such a film, and retains all of the intellectual property rights contained in the original.
Editorâ€™s note: A link to the FALSE STORY appears below:
Trancas International Filmsâ€™ president, and son of Moustapha Akkad, Malek Akkad stated, â€œWhile the life of the Prophet is technically in the public domain, and anyone can produce a film based on his life, it is inaccurate for anyone else to suggest that they have any connection or rights to the film â€˜The Messageâ€™ originally made by my father.â€?
Malek Akkad adds, â€œMy father spent seven years of his life crafting this classic film, including two years perfecting the script, which was then approved by the highest Islamic authorities. It was a work of passion, and he poured his heart and soul into it, and that passion shows in every scene. Because of this, Trancas International Films, myself, and my entire family strenuously object to anyone else falsely associating their claims to having the rights to remake this extraordinary film.â€?
â€œWhile Trancas is currently in the process of realizing some of my fatherâ€™s unfinished projects, we also understand the need to protect his legacy,â€? Akkad added.
ABOUT â€œTHE MESSAGE:â€?
According to IMDB.com: Handsomely-mounted historical epic â€œThe Messageâ€? concerns the birth of the Islamic faith and the story of the prophet Mohammed — who, in accordance with the tenants of Islam, is never seen or heard (as this is offensive to certain Islamic schools of thought.) In Mecca in the 7th century, Mohammed is visited by a vision of the Angel Gabriel, who urges him to lead the people of Mecca to cast aside the 300 idols of Kaaba and instead worship the one true God. Speaking out against the corrupt political and military leaders who rule Mecca, and with the help of his uncle, a brave warrior named Hamza (Anthony Quinn,) Mohammed and his followers return to Mecca to liberate the city in the name of God.
â€œThe Messageâ€? (originally screened in the U.S. as â€œMohammed, Messenger of God,â€?) proved to be highly controversial during its production and initial release. Unfounded rumors had it that Mohammed would not only be depicted in the film, but that he was to be played by Charlton Heston or Peter O’Toole. This resulted in angry protests by Muslim extremists, until director Moustapha Akkad hired a staff of respected Islamic clerics as technical advisors. The Message was shot in two versions, one in English and one in Arabic (entitled â€œAl-Ris-Alah,â€?) with different actors taking over some of the roles due to language requirements.
ABOUT MOUSTAPHA AKKAD:
Syrian-born film producer Moustapha Akkad, whose three decades of work in Hollywood ranged from the cult â€œHalloweenâ€? slasher films to movies with Muslim themes, died in 2005 from wounds sustained in terrorist hotel bombings in Jordan. He was 75. In addition to having directed and produced two religious-themed films, â€œThe Messageâ€? and â€œLion of the Desert,â€? both starring Anthony Quinn, he also produced all eight of the highly successful â€œHalloweenâ€? movies.
Akkad began his show business career as a production assistant for renowned director Sam Peckinpah on the Western, â€œRide the High Country,â€? in 1962. Akkadâ€™s most serious efforts could be seen in his two dramas about the history of Islam. â€œThe Message,â€? a 1977 film about the Prophet Mohammad, was widely acclaimed in the Middle East. But a group of American Muslims declared the film to be sacrilege and took hostages at three locations when the film opened in Washington, demanding that it not be shown in the United States.
Akkad was baffled by the reaction to the film, which he said cost $17 million to make and was nominated for an Academy Award for best original score. “I made the film to bring the story of Islam, the story of 700 million of people, to the West,” Akkad told The Associated Press in 1977.
â€œLion of the Desert,â€? a 1981 film, told the story of a Muslim rebel who fought against Italy’s World War II conquest of Libya. Akkad and director John Carpenter later launched the hugely popular â€œHalloweenâ€? franchise in 1978. Those movies, featuring hockey mask-wearing killer Michael Myers, inspired a cult following and seven sequels. The first installment launched the careers of Carpenter and actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Akkad was a constant presence in the franchise. He later said he had turned to horror films because he found it hard to raise money for religious-themed movies, according to a 1998 New York Times report.
ABOUT MALEK AKKAD/CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRANCAS:
Malek Akkad is a twenty-year veteran of the entertainment industry. Under his guidance, Trancas International Films has evolved into a diverse entertainment company, involved in production, distribution, management, music publishing and merchandising. Akkad has produced the last three installments of the successful â€œHalloweenâ€? franchise, distributed by Dimension films, and is currently producing the next installment of â€œHalloween.â€? Some other of his producing credits include â€œWalking After Midnight,â€? â€œThe Psychic Murders,â€? â€œMade in Brooklyn,â€? and the documentary, â€œHalloween: 25 Years of Terror.â€?
As a director, Akkad has numerous commercials and music videos to his credit, including clients such as Coke Cola, and artists like Lo-Ball, Simon Shaheen & Kazem. He also directed the feature film â€œThe Psychic Murders,â€? starring James Russo, Henry Rollins, and Terry Farrell, and he is currently developing â€œThe Princess of Alhambra,â€? a sweeping historical epic set in medieval Spain, based on a script by Oscar winning screenwriter, Robert Bolt.
Akkadâ€™s company, Trancas, also manages a vibrant film library, including titles such as â€œHalloween,â€? â€œHalloween 4,â€? â€œHalloween 5,â€? â€œHell Night,â€? and â€œLion of the Desert.â€? It also runs a merchandising department, and the music publishing company, Jack-O-Lantern Music. Trancas has recently opened television and management divisions, with several projects in development, and a roster of recognizable talent.
Most recently, Akkad produced the remake of the classic horror film, â€œHalloween,â€? with writer/director Rob Zombie. The film was number one opening weekend, and holds the record for the highest grossing Labor Day opening in history. It has gone on to gross over one hundred million dollars worldwide. Akkad is currently in pre-production of the psychological thriller â€œHurt,â€? as well as the sequel to the remake of â€œHalloween.â€?
ABOUT TRANCAS INTERNATIONAL FILMS:
Trancas International Film’s global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution, television, merchandising, product placement, internet development, operation of studio facilities a, development of new entertainment technologies and distribution of filmed entertainment worldwide.
Trancas most recently produced the number-one box office hit, â€˜Halloweenâ€™. Malek Akkad serves the company as its Chairman and CEO. For more info: