Newcomer Sam Heughan has been tapped to play the title role in Macedonia's Alexander the Great, a biopic of ancient Greece's famed conqueror. Shooting is scheduled to begin February 7 on location in Greece and Egypt for an October release. That trajectory puts it in line to compete with Oliver Stone's Alexander, which stars Colin Farrell as the Greek warrior. Heughan (pronounced "you-an") is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He is currently wrapping Island at War for Britain's Granada Television.
"We looked at hundreds of young actors to play this role, which requires both striking visual attraction and the look of a great future warrior," producer Ilya Salkind said in a statement. "When we spotted the athletic 6-foot-2-inch-framed Heughan and his captivating, sensuous masculine visage, we knew we had found him." Canadian filmmaker Jalal Merhi is directing the film, which takes a look at the coming-of-age of the heroic Alexander from his youth in Greece to the time he is named regent of the land after proving himself worthy of succeeding his demanding father, King Philip II of Macedonia. The producers hope to make a trilogy of Alexander's life, exploring his formative years, romances, and legendary battles.