Un Prophete's Tahar Rahim Cast in Roman Epic Eagle of the Ninth
by Alex Billington
October 19, 2009
Focus Features announced today that French actor Tahar Rahim, the lead actor in my favorite foreign film of the year, Jacques Audiard's Un Prophete (read my review from Cannes), has been cast in The Eagle of the Ninth, his first big role since breaking out at Cannes earlier this year. The Eagle of the Ninth, being directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play), is a Roman epic adventure that's currently shooting in and around England. In addition to Rahim, the film stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, and Mark Strong. Definitely sounds like a project we should be keeping our eyes on!
The Eagle of the Ninth is set in the dangerous world of second-century Britain. In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila (Tatum) arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca (Bell), Marcus sets out across Hadrian's Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia – to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father's memory, and retrieve the lost legion's golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth. Rahim has been cast to play the Gaelic-speaking Seal Prince, the fearsome leader of a band of warriors who pursue Marcus and Esca throughout the highlands.
The sounds a little bit like Neil Marshall's Centurion, but obviously with an entirely different story, but it's still intriguing to see two British productions set in ancient Roman. Either way, with the director and the cast involved in this, especially now with Rahim (who I think deserves an Oscar for his performance in Un Prophete), I'm looking forward to this much more than Centurion. We'll let you know when we hear more!