An Academy Award-winning filmmaker has chosen his next project. Kevin Macdonald has signed on to direct Roman epic The Eagle of the Ninth, according to an announcement in Cannes by Focus Features. Macdonald won an Oscar for his superb documentary One Day in September and guided Forest Whitaker to his Academy Award for Best Actor in The Last King of Scotland.

Scotland co-writer Jeremy Brock adapted the screenplay for Eagle from the novel of the same name by Rosemary Sutcliff, the first in a series, originally published in 1954. The book is set in the second century in Roman-ruled Britain, telling the tale of a young Roman's search for "the truth about the disappearance of his father's legion," according to Wikipedia. Focus emphasizes the danger involved, with its hero off "to confront ... savage tribes, make peace with his father's memory, and retrieve the lost legion's golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth."


Macdonald is currently completing production on State of Play, starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck. Pre-production on The Eage of the Ninth is set to begin at the end of the year. No word on what happened to Bobby Fischer Goes to War, which was also set to go late this year, as Jessica told us. This will be the first historical adventure that Macdonald tackles, so it should be interesting to see if he can bring a fresh approach -- and even more intriguing to see who is cast in the lead role. Ideas, anyone?