New Mexico to play ancient Egypt in new 'Hieroglyph' TV series

New Mexico to play ancient Egypt in new 'Hieroglyph' TV series
New Mexico's famous white sands will help it stand in for ancient Egypt in the new TV series "Hieroglyph." (David Muench / Santa Barbara Museum of Art)

New Mexico, which has doubled for Afghanistan and Morocco,  is about to stand in for ancient Egypt.

The new drama "Hieroglyph," produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment,  will begin filming at Albuquerque Studios next month, the studio said.

Elaborate sets for the show are taking up four sound stages at the sprawling production complex, where the hit AMC TV series "Breaking Bad" also filmed.

Starring British actor Reece Ritchie, "Hieroglyph" is a fantasy drama set in ancient Egypt.  The show follows a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharaoh, navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, and various criminal characters and sorcerers.

“We wanted to do a show about deceit, sex, intrigue in the court and fantastical goings-on – no better place to set that than ancient Egypt,” Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said in a statement. Created by Travis Beacham, co-writer of the movie "Pacific Rim," the series was given a straight-to-series order in mid-October 2013.

Producers are taking advantage of the state's 30% rebate to offset production costs for the 13 episodes.

New Mexico has a long history of playing other countries. Most recently it filled in for Afghanistan in the box office hit, "Lone Survivor" starring Mark Wahlberg and in both SEAL Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden and "Brothers" starring Natalie Portman and Toby McGuire. The outskirts of Deming doubled for Morocco in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

After seeing a falloff in business amid uncertainty about the future of the state's film program, business has picked up in New Mexico.

"It's great to see the parking lot filling up with New Mexico license plates again," said Wayne Rauschenberger, Chief Operating Officer of ABQ Studios.


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