I’m a sucker for movies about the Roman Legion. Which is why I’m eagerly anticipating Neil Marshall’s “Centurion”, and now, Kevin Macdonald’s “The Eagle of the Ninth”, even if the latter film sounds less action-packed than Marshall’s. Then again, we are talking about the guy who directed “The Descent” and “Doomsday”, so maybe comparing the two directors is a bit unfair when it comes to the action quotient of their movies.
Anyways, Focus Features recently announced the start of production on “The Eagle of the Ninth”, which will be shot entirely in Hungary and Scotland. The cast includes Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, and Mark Strong. I know what you’re thinking: “Channing Tatum? Good God, let’s hope they don’t force him to do an accent.” I completely agree. Remember Kevin Costner in that Robin Hood movie? Good God.
Here’s the plot:
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 (played by Mr. Tatum) arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca (Mr. 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. Mr. Sutherland portrays Marcus’ uncle Aquila, who has retired in Britain; Mr. Strong is cast as Guern, an ex-soldier who holds crucial information about the Ninth.
Doesn’t sound too bad, huh? If a tad, well, as mentioned, not as action-packed as a movie about the Roman Legion should be, but maybe it’ll surprise us.
The movie will be based on the novel by Rosemary Sutcliff, with Jeremy Brock adapting. Brock last worked with Macdonald on the Award-winning “The Last King of Scotland”. Macdonald’s last film was the political thriller “State of Play” which arrived in theaters in a “State of DOA”.