PREMISE: A great and courageous prince rescues an ethereal young
white slave boy from being castrated and falls completely in love despite
his lifelong heterosexuality. The mysterious youth, who never
remembers his own history, stays at his beloved’s side through many
adventures and battles until they both jump off a legendary mountain
precipice together so they will remain together for eternity.
COMMENTS: Very unusual homoerotic novel is told in a sweeping,
poetic manner. While extremely well written and very enjoyable,
story would be difficult sell to a mainstream audience and probably as
difficult to translate correctly to film. Story could succeed if
done properly and could be sold to niche, foreign and arthouse markets.
Script Viking Script Evaluation Form – Ratings/Synopsis
for The Myrtle and The Rose
Story opens on the slave market run by BUTROS ES-SHAMI
in a small lowland town. The great prince HAMID EL-GHAZI and his
personal guard, including the commander HASSAN and superintendent IBRAHIM,
had stopped there while out shopping for gold for the ladies back at the
palace. Hamid is presented as a virtuous man whose healthy sexual
needs are well taken care of by the ladies of his harem, especially the
new arrival LAILAH. He is also described as a man of mixed blood
with a dark complexion who stands almost seven feet tall. The slave
trader is frustrated because he really has nothing exceptional to sell at
the moment and we learn that Hamid has been separated from his wife and
only son HARAZAD for some time now. The wife Shirin and the
twenty-year-old son Harazad live in their own palace and lands, and Hamid
considers buying a slave for them so as to keep up appearances.
Butros and Hamid’s discussion is interrupted by the sounds of a great
struggle going on in the other room.
We learn that a young white slave boy is about to be
castrated and has put up a great fight.
Hamid asks to see the boy and is brought into the
castrating room. There is an immediate bond between the two and the boy
has eyes only for the handsome prince. Hamid tells the boy that he
will have to give himself over completely in trust and the boy eagerly
begs to be tested on that count. Hamid takes his razor sharp dagger
and cuts the boy’s face from cheek to chin, but the boy remains motionless
and then swoons. Butros is in shock at the damaging of his property
but Hamid orders that the boy be purchased.
We then meet the prince’s personal physician, a
Chinese slave called EL-HAKIM. He is described as the “true” father
to Hamid because of the personal bond they enjoyed as compared to Hamid’s
distant biological father. Hakim is summoned immediately to the prince’s
apartments to tend to the ailing boy. Hakim orders the boy put to bed
after being given a sleeping potion but
Hakim is unable to determine anything about Hawk’s
past other than his obvious noble bearing and a starving need for love –
from Hamid only.
We see Hawk recover and begin to grow to manhood.
His relationship with Hamid also becomes more matured and his childlike
need begins to change to self-sufficiency. There is a subplot
involving the hiring (at Hawk’s insistence) of an abused and very
streetwise slave boy names OMAR who becomes an assistant to El-Hakim and
devoted friend to Hawk. Climax of story involves Harazad and
Hussein’s betrayal and attempted coup of Hamid. The prince learns of
the takeover plans (involving publicly humiliating slavery and elongated
torture of Hamid and Hawk) from Omar and manages to keep himself, Hawk and
his personal guard alive. He also sneaks in and decapitates his son
before escaping his occupied palace. The loyal servants are sent
though a secret mountain pass to safety and Hamid is completely bewildered
because Hawk refuses to abandon the prince and flee to safety. Hawk
remembers the precipice and the two jump off the mountain – so as to be
together always and never be at the mercy of cruelty – just as the emir’s
men spot them from the bottom of the hill.
Script Viking Script Evaluation
for The Myrtle and The Rose:
This novel has the most unusual concept this
reader has ever seen for filmic presentation consideration. It
reads like one of the more obscure tales of the Arabian Nights and it is
very effectively told. The unusual nature of the story (an
all-consuming love between a fully-grown man and a twelve-year-old boy)
is also its biggest detraction. This kind of story, while
presented respectfully and almost purely, is simply not going to go over
big in places like the conservative Midwestern and Southeastern United
States. There probably is an interested audience for this story
but the material would have to be handled with the utmost of care.
In the wake of the controversy surrounding the recent release of the
remake of “Lolita” it should be assumed that no matter how sensitively
handled many will call the story pornographic.
All of the characters come right out of the
stereotype textbook with the only twist being the love between two
males. The characters are all well written and thoroughly
enjoyable, and the antagonists do their proper work of making us
empathize even more fully with the unlikely couple of heroes.
Character development is also as it should be and the growing love
between Hamid and Hawk is the central relationship. As the men’s
love grows so is the plot further complicated by a cruel and vindictive
world at large.
Once the main storyline is presented and the
protagonists established then their future becomes the driving force and
main suspense. We want to see the two go on continually to higher
and higher aspects of their deep bond but we know this thing will not
last. Though the story is set in the year 1000 AD the exact same
thing would happen today, and there would be an even greater hue and cry
over the strange but true relationship. We know the two want
nothing more from life than to be together and in the best of poetic
traditions they commit to each other unto death. Story is
structured like a fable or fairy tale (pardon the pun) and it unfurls in
a linear timeframe. There is no flashback because exposition is
usually explained in dialogue or by the omniscient narrator. Once
the oddness of the story has given way to plain old storytelling we are
hooked and the journey is enjoyable – again, however, probably not for
The commercial appeal of this piece is entirely up
to the creators brave (or stupid) enough to attempt such a fable.
There is a definite fringe, gay, arthouse and overseas audience for the
story if it is done properly. It would be very easy for this thing
to become one of the campiest turkeys ever to be filmed, and at that it
could still possibly succeed! Generally this could be a true film
curiosity akin to the silent film version of “Salome” that was entirely
cast with gay folks. Today it is regarded as high camp and it was
apparently a bomb when released in the twenties. If done with
sensitivity the rich and oddly majestic story could be translated into
an escapist gay Arabian tale a la Merchant and Ivory, or “Lawrence of
Arabia” taken to a further extreme.
Script Viking Script Evaluation Form –
Writer, Annie Messina:
Biggest find here is the very brave and talented
female (!) writer who either heard the unusual story or, better yet, made
the whole thing up and managed to craft a lovely and serious meditation on
love and how it can spring up in the most unexpected places.