Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo cred: King Jeremiah Heaton

Walt Disney Studios and Morgan Spurlock are teaming up to develop a film about a guy who stuck a flag in a remote part of Africa and declared himself king. Called Princess Of North Sudan, the film will likely put a more positive spin on this bizarre true-life story: In June 2014, Jeremiah Heaton journeyed from his Virginia home to an 800-square-mile patch of land called Bir Tawil that had been left unclaimed in a decades-long border dispute between Sudan and Egypt. There, he planted a homemade blue flag in the ground, claiming it as his kingdom in order to make his daughter’s dream of becoming a princess come true. He now calls the area the Kingdom of Northern Sudan, while most experts are calling bullshit. According to International Law, only states can assert sovereignty over territory. Heaton argues that the policy is colonialist—and if anyone knows colonialism, it’s a white man who walked into an African territory and decided he owned it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will not be a documentary. Instead, it will simply use the story of Heaton and his daughter—as reported in a Guardian article to which Disney bought the rightsas the “jumping-off point for a fantastical adventure.” Spurlock will merely produce the film, which is a bit of a shame as his previous documentaries, like Super Size Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, exposed the dark side of America’s capitalist consumer culture, and Heaton’s story is full of themes of paternalism and American exceptionalism just waiting to be taken down. For example, there’s that time Heaton said, “There is no way [Egyptian and Sudanese officials] can’t see it in a positive light,” “it” being his plan to declare himself a king and solve the region’s agricultural problems despite having spent all of a week there, living some 6,600 miles away, and only claiming the land to literalize his daughter’s naive childhood dream.


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