Principal photography begins Monday (March 17) in Malta on the big-budget historical Egyptian epic Agora by Academy Award-winner Alejandro Amenábar. The shoot on location in Malta will take about 15 weeks, according to an announcement by Madrid-based Mod Producciones.
Nearly 400 locals have been employed preparing the largest set ever built on Malta for the movie, which has a €50 million budget, according to local reports. It will be the first film shot in Malta following new incentives for the film industry introduced by the government in December. Production has been under way since October 2007 and will wrap up in July.
Oscar-winning British actress Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) will play the real-life figure Hypatia of Alexandria, the Western world's first female astronomer and philosopher. Her leading man will be rising star Max Minghella (Art School Confidential) as Hypatia's slave, Davus, who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he could gain by joining the rising tide of Christianity.
Agora is Amenábar's second English-language feature after the global box office hit The Others. Amenábar co-wrote the screenplay with his frequent collaborator, Mateo Gil, and the film is produced by Amenábar's longtime producer Fernando Bovaira. Spanish production company Telecinco Cinema (www.telecinco.es) is the majority co-producer. Mod Producciones (www.modproducciones.es) and Amenábar's Himenóptero will produce with the participation of Sogecable SA (www.sogecable.es).