Orlando Nabs Lead In Ridley's Epic

Ridley Scott plans epic to rival Gladiator

Morocco is clearly the location of choice for discerning filmmakers this year. Not only are both Oliver Stone and Wolfgang Petersen shooting their epics Alexander and Troy there, but we learn today that Ridley Scott will be filming his next movie Kingdom of Heaven there. Billed as an 'epic love story', Kingdom of Heaven will star Orlando Bloom as a peasant who becomes a knight and eventually falls in love with the princess of Jerusalem. The action takes place during the time of the Crusades and Scott anticipates it being a bigger movie in every way to Gladiator. 'I'd wanted to do a film with knights in armor,' Scott tells Variety, 'but thought why do some homogenous story when screenwriter William Monahan (who's currently working on the screenplay for Jurassic Park IV) came up with such rich history? He based this drama on accurate research, which he spent 19 months compiling and writing.' Filming is due to start in January 2004.