Jonathan Rhys Meyers Is Mandrake

As in Mandrake The Magician

Jonathan Rhys Meyers Is Mandrake

by Tom Ambrose |
Published on

Remember that ace cartoon serial from the 80s, Defenders Of The Earth? The one in which a number of old Saturday morning serial superheroes and adventurers from Lion Comics united to, um, defend the earth?

Well, that may be the only time you’ve been exposed to Mandrake The Magician, who was one of the core members of the team, prancing around in a top hat and tails, and hypnotising people left, right and centre, while the title song announced that he was ‘master of magic, spells and illusion/enemies crumble in fear and confusion’. (Although hardcore geeks will know that he debuted in comic strips in 1934 and has been depicted in various media ever since – thanks, Wikipedia!)

Well, now Mandrake has the chance to step out of the shadow of his movie star team-mates Flash Gordon and The Phantom with his own motion picture extravaganza, simply called Mandrake, to be directed by Chuck Russell and, as of today, starring stary-eyed, high-cheekboned Irishman, Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Rhys Meyers has been making something of a splash on the small screen with The Tudors, and this represents his first big chance to make a name for himself as a leading man in a major movie, after years of indie movies such as Woody Allen’s Match Point and Velvet Goldmine, and supporting roles in the likes of Mission: Impossible 3. And his involvement in the movie finally puts paid to rumours that real-life magician Criss Angel was set to take the lead role – for which we can all say, ‘thank Christ for that’.

Certainly, Rhys Meyers is a better choice than Angel (mind you, there’s a tramp who sits on the park bench outside Empire Towers every day who would be a better choice than Criss bloody Angel), and this could be the role for which his slightly mad eyes were made.

The film, in which Mandrake is an extreme escape artist caught up in international intrigue and espionage, will shoot early next year in China and the United States. Russell hasn’t directed since The Scorpion King in 2002, but he’s proven himself adept at cranking out cracking B-movies in the past; let’s hope Mandrake is a worthy addition to his Blob and Nightmare on Elm Street 3-populated CV.

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