Producer Todd Moyer has announced that Brendan Fraser will take on the title role in the historical family action adventure William Tell: 3D, to be shot this fall in Europe. Nick Hurran (“The Prisoner,” “Doctor Who,” Undertaking Betty, Little Black Book) is slated to direct from a script by Scott Reynolds. Moyer expects principal photography to begin October 1st at Castel Studios in Romania and on location in Switzerland. Gary Hamilton will also produce under his Arclight banner, with Arclight handling international distribution of the film at Cannes.
Moyer says, “There is no other actor who is more perfectly suited to be the patriot and family man that is William Tell. Brendan was the driving force behind the movie being shot in 3D. He’s a witty, charming and very likeable action hero, and he really anchors the ensemble cast.” Moyer’s in negotiation to attach Anna Paquin (“True Blood,” “Jane Eyre,” “X-Men” series) to the cast as well.
William Tell is a legend in North America for shooting an apple from the top of his son’s head with a bow and arrow (it was really a crossbow). What Americans don’t know is that he’s a revered historical figure in Europe.
In the legend, Tell just can’t leave well enough alone. The local potentate of the Hapsburg monarch, Hermann Gessler forces Tell to shoot the apple because he refused to bow before Gessler’s hat, erected in a town square. Tell succeeds in cleanly (and safely) cleaving the fruit and wins his and his son’s freedom. But Gessler asks Tell why he had two arrows is his quiver, and Tell replies he was going to shoot Gessler with the second if he’d missed. Tell’s defiance of Gessler ignited an uprising against the Austrian government which led to the formation of Switzerland. If confirmed, Paquin will play Zora, Tell’s wife and Schweiger will play Gessler.
This is the fourth film announcement for Fraser in recent weeks. Fraser’s currently on location in Belfast shooting the “fish heist” comedy Whole Lotta Sole, co-written and directed by Terry George, and will start on Gimme Shelter in June as previously reported, directed by writer/director Ronald Krass. Next, Fraser will voice the role of Scorch in The Weinstein Company’s 3D animated film, Escape From Planet Earth. Then he’ll play a wealthy British nobleman enmeshed in the early 1700’s French and Indian War with Four Kings.