racechanging: The Physician

The Physician

After his mother dies of a mysterious illness in eleventh-century England Rob Cole vows to become a physician and vanquish Death itself. He sets off for Isfahan in Persia to study medicine under the great Ibn Sina.

After months of hardships on the seas, he joins a Jewish caravan heading to Isfahan and meets the beautiful Rebecca (Emma Rigby). To avoid discovery as a Christian he circumcises himself and adopts the name Jesse ben Benjamin. On the most perilous stage of through the desert the caravan encounters a deadly sandstorm; Rob thinks he’s the only survivor and, completely exhausted, he reaches Isfahan.

There he discovers that  Rebecca survived the sandstorm and has arrived in Isfahan to be married off to a wealthy older businessman. They finally succumb to their love for one another but Rebecca becomes pregnant and her husband finds out the truth. Rebecca is sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Meanwhile Rob is also sentenced to death for performing an illegal autopsy. They are saved when Rob is summoned to perform an operation on the Shah who in return allows them both to escape.

This is the sort of casting that would be almost inconceivable today if Rebecca was black, Asian or Native America.

The makeup

Heike Merker was the key hair & makeup designer; Tamar Aviv & Jörn Seifert of Twilight Creations were the key special makeup effects artists.