The screenplay is set against the rising tide of nationalism that was sweeping the Arab world with the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire. This widespread Arab nationalist movement reached a violent and bloody crescendo during the First World and the reluctant granting of independence to Egypt by Great Britain in 1919 – a full three years before Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb
in the valley of the Kings in 1922.
No story concerning the legendary discovery can be told then, without an appreciation of the impact these political pressures had on the search and, more importantly, on determining the final disposition of the priceless treasures that left the entire collection of over 3000 artefacts in Egyptian hands. This unpopular decision effectively ended the wholesale plundering of ancient sites by the former colonial powers and allowed Egypt and the other Middle Eastern nations to finally become
the arbiters of their own cultural heritage.
The Valley of the Kings is based on the remarkable true story of the turbulent events surrounding the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt in 1922 by intrepid English archaeologist Howard Carter.
Howard Carter was a fascinating individual – a loner, brilliant, obsessive and quick tempered. He was largely self-taught and as a result he was cold-shouldered by his more educated colleagues and ridiculed as he stood alone in his passionate belief that the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, still held Egypt’s greatest secret - the lost tomb of Tutankhamun, which had remained hidden and undisturbed for over three thousand years. The screenplay presents an historical adventure about one man’s passionate and dogged pursuit
of his own dream.
(Quarter-finalist in the Nicholl Fellowships, a semi-finalist in the Scriptapalooza Screenwritng competition and a finalist in the American Accolades Screenplay competition)
While working as Chief Inspector of monuments in Egypt, Carter foils an attempted pack-rape by a group of drunken French tourists at a British archaeological camp, deep in the remote deserts of Lower Egypt. He reports the confrontation to his French boss in Cairo, only to be told that he will have to apologize for ‘this unwarranted assault on French citizens’. Carter flatly refuses and in protest he rashly resigns his position as Chief Inspector.
The French then start ugly rumours about Carter’s financial dealings and send hired thugs to beat him up and destroy his meagre watercolour/tour guide business.
These dramatic opening events set the scene for a tale of intrigue, violence and adventure that takes us through the obsessive hunt for a lost pharaoh, an unrequited love story between Carter and the aristocratic LADY EMILY HERBERT and the growing animosity between Carter and Frenchman PIERRE MORINOT, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, who becomes Carter’s determined enemy. And watching everything, waiting to make their move, is a tribe of sinister desert bandits, descendants of Egypt's ancient tomb robbers.
Emily’s father, LORD CARNARVON - the affluent English aristocrat who bankrolls the search that almost ruins him - is destined to die in mysterious circumstances just weeks after the night he and Carter illicitly enter Tutankhamun’s tomb. Carnarvon’s untimely death is accompanied by strange omens which start rumours flying about
the "curse of the pharaoh".
Once the tomb is discovered, a clash of rivalries, jealousies and political pressures will guarantee a tenacious struggle for possession of the priceless treasures and give momentum to the vociferous nationalist movement for Arab independence.
Carter meets with T E Lawrence at the Arab Bureau in Cairo - a cover for covert espionage during the war.