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Jamie Bell is a Slave to Channing Tatum in ‘Eagle of the Ninth’

Channing Tatum hasn’t signed on the dotted line just yet, but if he does, he’ll be the lead in Kevin Macdonald’s second straight project for Universal. Falling under the Focus Features label, the director who signed up on the project a year ago, has already set the co-star lead in Jamie Bell in The Eagle of the Ninth.

Channing Tatum hasn’t signed on the dotted line just yet, but if he does, he’ll be the lead in Kevin Macdonald‘s second straight project for Universal. Falling under the Focus Features label, the director who signed up on the project a year ago, has already set the co-star lead in Jamie Bell in The Eagle of the Ninth. Bell is set to make waves as the lead in the first of the three Tintin films, while Tatum will also see his stock value increase with the arrival of both Michael Mann‘s Public Enemies and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Variety reports that Hungarian locations will stand in for 2nd century England, while the Scottish scenes will be filmed in Scotland. Production is set for August right after Focus does some territory pre-sales in Cannes in about six weeks time from now. 

Adapted by Jeremy Brock, The Eagle of the Ninth is based on the classic 1954 teen novel by Rosemary Sutcliff. Set in Britain during the 2nd century A.D., it’s the story of a wounded Roman soldier (Tatum) and his Celtic slave (Bell) who embark on a perilous journey into the far north to discover what happened the Ninth Legion, which went on a mission into the wilds of Scotland 15 years earlier and never came back. The soldier’s father was the legion’s general, and his disappearance, along with the loss of the legion’s symbol, the eponymous eagle, cast a stain upon his family.

I’m still on the fence with the Macdonald’s State of Play (due out on April 17th) – besides a quick glimpse of Helen Mirren bossing someone around, the trailer isn’t really doing anything for me, while the screenplay was one of the better reads a couple of years back when it was trying to find a suitor.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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