Berlin/Munich, 19 June 2012. Shooting on THE PHYSICIAN, the big-screen adaptation of Noah Gordon’s international bestseller, begins today under the direction of Philipp Stölzl ("North Face", "Young Goethe in Love"). Next to Tom Payne, Ben Kingsley, Stellan Skarsgård and Olivier Martinez, the film also stars Emma Rigby (“Hollyoaks,” “Prisoners‘ Wives”) as the Physician’s big love and lead female role, thus completing its international cast. Shooting will take place for more than 60 days until September in Germany and Morocco.
At the International Film Festival in Cannes, THE PHYSICIAN has already drawn great interest among international film buyers. Beta Cinema sold the film on script-basis to Spain (Dea Planeta), Poland (Monolith) and Latin America (Imagem). Negotiations are underway with several other territories.
Noah Gordon’s eponymous novel has sold more than 21 million copies around the world, and not only forms the basis for an emotional and visually breathtaking adventure film, but is also a modern-day plea for peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance.
THE PHYSICIAN tells the story of Rob Cole (Tom Payne, HBO’s “Luck,” “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day,” “Waterloo Road”), a boy who is left a penniless orphan in an 11th-century English mining town when his mother dies of a mysterious illness. Vowing to become a physician and vanquish Death itself, he travels to Isfahan in Persia to study medicine under the great Ibn Sina (Academy Award Winner Ben Kingsley, “Gandhi,” “Schindler’s List,” “Hugo”, “Iron Man 3”). Through countless ordeals and challenges, and making many sacrifices along the way, he struggles on unwaveringly. His unflagging quest for knowledge leads to the blossoming of friendship and true love.
Stellan Skarsgård (“Pirates of the Caribbean 2,” ”Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Good Will Hunting,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) will be seen in the role of the Barber, Rob’s first mentor, and Olivier Martinez (“Taking Lives,” “Unfaithful,” “S.W.A.T.”) plays Shah Ala ad-Daula. The adaptation of the hit novel was written by Jan Berger, known as the writer of ambitious cinematic works (“We Are the Night,” “The Door”); cinematography is in the hands of Hagen Bogdanski (“The Lives of Others”). The visual effects will be done by Academy Award winning Pixomondo (“Hugo”, “Independence Day”, “2012”).
THE PHYSICIAN is a production of UFA Cinema in coproduction with ARD Degeto and Beta Cinema. Producers are Wolf Bauer and Nico Hofmann, executive producer Sebastian Werninger, producer Ulrich Schwarz, story editing at ARD Degeto headed by Bettina Reitz and Roman Klink. The film is supported by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Filmförderungsanstalt and Deutscher Filmförderfonds.
Universal Pictures International Germany holds theatrical and HV rights for German speaking territories, Beta Cinema is handling the world sales.