King Mhett the Third
Egyptian kings make fascinating subjects. Sure there has been and are many autocrats that employ cruelty for self-serving means, but apart from other Iron fist rulers of the past, cities bearing claim to their life and after-life still stand making them high contenders for the most egotistical.
King Mhett the third is an amalgamation of lesser known Egyptian rulers such as Pharaoh Pepi II who smeared his slaves with honey to keep flies away from him and even Roman emperors such as Domitian the Suspicious who had an actor killed on suspicion of sleeping with his wife and then had scores of women put to death for mourning for the deposed thespian.
The Egyptian scenes in Quest for Steel are set centuries before the timeline of the film, when the first steel sword made its debut. I did not want to faithfully replicate what we have come to know about Egyptian style but evoke a sense of it. Mhett’s army is the cat army showcased in a previous post, so it is a mythical retelling of the time.
Justin Touyz plays Mhett and looked every bit of an Egyptian Pharaoh without the makeup, when I saw his perfectly bald head, I thought it would be a shame to cover it with a headdress, but I made sure we could see him both with and without the head covering. Justin did his audition in Hyde Park and I could see he had a good sense of comic timing (Perhaps due to his experience as a stand-up comic) He is also one of the nicest actors you are likely to encounter, inquisitive about the character, without being overbearing. A friendly and approachable guy, we were chatting for about ten minutes before we got to the audition. He also came with three versions, which is always a good sign that an actor has done the ground work and is flexible. I liked what I saw and we were shooting by the end of the week. Justin was a pleasure to direct as he understood from the start that Mhett is a character you have fun with.
Ciara McCarthy returned to do the makeup and did another great job. It is so tempting for a makeup artist to overdo the makeup especially with something as Mardi Gras as an Egyptian Pharaoh but Ciara knew what to restrain and what to emphasise.