Ashutosh Gowariker, the Indian filmmaker who is set to direct the upcoming biopic Buddha, has launched a global online audition to find a fresh face to play the role of the young Buddha.
Scripted by David S. Ward (Sleepless In Seattle), the big-budget English-language production focuses on the life of Siddhartha Gautama, during his young adulthood as a prince to the age of 35 when he achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha.
The film is backed by billionaire Dr BK Modi’s Singapore-based Spice Studios and is scheduled to start shooting in India in August.
The production company’s web-site (www.buddha-movie.com) calls for actors between 20 and 35 years of age with an “ethnic look and colour” to upload their auditions, based on two scenes from the movie, to the site.
“To portray the innocence of Prince Siddhartha and the compassion of the ‘enlightened one’, I am looking for a fresh face. And hence, this nationwide, worldwide search,” said Gowariker. “I welcome actors from all over the world to visit our website, download the sample scenes and upload your audition videos along with pictures.”
Although Prince Siddhartha came from what was northern India in 500BC, the producers say they’re not restricting the search to Indian actors and are open to a “diverse ethnic look”.
“This will be the first global film coming from India for the global audience about the man who brought India to the world map and the philosophy that will make the world live as one family,” said Dr BK Modi.
“The search for Siddharth’s character in the film will be one who the youth of the world can connect with.”
A top-flight crew is currently being assembled for the film, including DoP Karl Walter Lindenlaub (Independence Day, The Jackal), production designer Nitin Chandrakant (Devdas, Jodhaa Akbar), costume designer April Ferry (Rome, Terminator 3) and second unit director and stunt coordinator Glenn Boswell, who worked on The Matrix films.
Modi is producer on the film with Dileep Singh Rathore as co-producer and line producer, and Michel Shane and Bhuvan Lall as executive producers.
The online audition closes on May 15.