UK actor Joseph Fiennes has signed up to play religious reformer Martin Luther in a $10m feature film biopic to be directed by Eric Till.

Luther, the story of a simple monk challenging the political and religious leadership of his time will also feature Peter Ustinov, Bruno Ganz, Mathieu Carriere, Uwe Ochsenknecht, August Diehl, Jochen Horst and Benjamin Sadler. It begins shooting in February at original historical locations in Brandenburg, central Germany, Bavaria, Italy and the Czech Republic.

The project reunites Canadian-born director Till with the Berlin-based NFP Neue Filmproduktion. They previously worked together two years ago on Bonhoeffer - Agent Of Grace about the Second World War resistance figure and priest Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Luther is being produced by NFP in association with the US partner Aid Association for Lutherans, and the ARD network's Degeto Film, with additional financing from the Federal German Film Board (FFA), Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung MDM and Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

"With this film, we are making our leap to the big screen", said executive producer Alexander Thies. "Our aim is to produce important historical stories for an international market with a focus on North America."