The movie is based on the true adventures of Sir James Brooke in 1840s Borneo.
The real-life inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King” and Joseph Conrad’s “Lord Jim,” Brooke was an English adventurer who sailed to Borneo in 1839 and earned the title of “White Rajah” after defeating pirates in Sarawak. Brooke fell in love with the beauty, wildlife, and people of Borneo and embarked on a lifelong crusade against slavery, piracy, and headhunting. Queen Victoria knighted him for bravery. Brooke resisted British imperialism, so Parliament put him on trial for murder and piracy. Brooke fought back, founding a dynasty of Brooke Rajahs, who ruled a jungle kingdom larger than England for 100 years, until the eve of WWII.