EXCLUSIVE: RRR and Thor star Ray Stevenson has been set to lead cast in historical drama 1242: Gateway to the West, which is now filming in Budapest, Hungary.
Stevenson takes on the role initially due to be played by Kevin Spacey but the latter was removed from the project by producers last year following news of additional sexual assault charges against the actor.
Stevenson recently played lead antagonist in SS Rajamouli’s Oscar-nominated box office hit RRR and is known for playing Volstagg in Marvel’s Thor franchise and for TV series Vikings.
Stevenson joins Oscar nominee Eric Roberts (Runaway Train), Michael Ironside (Top Gun), Neil Stuke (Sliding Doors), David Schofield (Gladiator), Jeremy Neumark-Jones (Denial), and Genevieve Florence (Avenue 5).
Carlos Alperin of Galloping Entertainment is handling international sales and will launch the reconfigured project at the upcoming EFM in Berlin.
The movie follows a profoundly spiritual man (Neumark-Jones) of Hungarian Castle Esztergom who must confront and halt the Great Mongolian Army led by Batu Khan, grandson of Ghengis Khan (Mongolian actor Bold Choimbol) from invading Europe in 1242. The story focuses on their unlikely meeting during the Mongolian Lunar New Year when hostilities are paused. Stevenson will portray Papal Legate Cesareani, a secret Mongol ally who plays a key role as go-between.
The international co-production between the UK-Hungary-Mongolia-Australia is directed by veteran Hungarian director Péter Soós from a script written by Áron Horváth and Joan Lane. Bill Chamberlain and Kornél Sipos produce. Carlos Alperin, Paul Brett, Tim Smith, and Csaba Iski are executive-producing.
Composer Mike Moren, who co-wrote Barcelona alongside Queen’s Freddie Mercury, is scoring the film.
Producer Bill Chamberlain said: “What an incredible honor to welcome Ray Stevenson, a globally-recognized actor with an impressive range and undeniable charisma.”
Added producer Kornél Sipos: “Ray is the ideal lead for our movie 1242: Gateway to the West; his captivating performances in films like RRR prove that beyond doubt! We are honored he’s come on board — together, we’ll craft something truly remarkable.”