Up the River: Allyn has been trying to make a film about James Brooke since discovering the 19th-century British explorer in the footnote of a novel. The effort finally brought him to the island of Borneo. Peter Simek

Arts & Entertainment

Rob Allyn’s Film ‘Rajah’ Snags Distribution Deal (And a New Name)

Former Dallas political consultant-turned-movie producer spent the better part of a decade trying to bring the story to life. It will finally hit theaters in June.

Once upon a time, in a world very different from our own — when everyone had electricity, streets weren’t ice rinks, and a global pandemic didn’t force everyone to huddle in their bedrooms for months on end — I boarded a kind of magical flying machine known as an airplane and traveled half-way around the world to visit the jungles of Borneo. There I found Rob Allyn, former Dallas political maestro, who was in the throes of his new career as a big shot movie producer.

Allyn was shooting a movie he wrote called Rajah, about a 19th century British adventurer who ended up becoming king of the indigenous tribes of Sarawak. The movie starred a few well-known Hollywood names who were sweating it out in the jungle, including Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors) and Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings). You can read all about Allyn and his crazy movie making adventures here.

On Tuesday, while we were suffering through a deep freeze, news broke out of sunny Southern California that Allyn’s Borneo film has been acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Renamed Edge of the World, Allyn’s movie is set to hit theaters in June.

“We are thrilled to be working on Edge of the World,” Peter Goldwyn told Deadline. “It’s rare you get to see such a swashbuckling historical epic these days, and we cannot wait to bring this film to audiences.”

Which is exactly why Allyn wanted to make this film — to create the kind of throw-back epic that made him fall in love with the movies in the first place, something like Lawrence of Arabia or The Man Who Would Be King (which was inspired by the story of Allyn’s protagonist, James Brooke, also known as The White Rajah of Sarawak). But there’s a reason these kinds of movies are so rare. They are difficult to make. It took Allyn a decade to pull together the complicated funding and the right cast and crew to finally head into the bush for the shoot. Again, it’s all here.

It’s been a big year for Allyn and his sons Conor and Jake, who established Margate House Films together (named after their old house in North Dallas). IFC Films released the boys’ No Man’s Land (directed by Conor, staring Jake) which did well at the box office and on iTunes. Rob and Conor also produced the Netflix original I’m No Longer Here, which is Mexico’s official submission as Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards.

 

 

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