International stars including Ben Kingsley, Tom Payne and Stellan Skarsgård have joined the cast of Beta Cinema’s film adaptation of Noah Gordon’s bestseller The Physician.

Directed by Philipp Stoelzl (North Face), this adventure set in 11th-century England and Persia will be shot in Morocco and Germany starting in mid June 2012. Beta Cinema is co-producing and handling the world sales.

The Physician is the story of of one man’s passionate search for truth in the religion-dominated and superstitious world of the 11th century. It has sold over 21 million copies worldwide.

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Universal Pictures International will release The Physician theatrically in German-speaking territories in 2013.

Tom Payne plays the lead role of Physician Rob Cole. Ben Kingsley is cast as Ibn Sina, the “doctor of all doctors”. Stellan Skarsgård takes the role of the Barber, Rob’s first mentor, and Olivier Martinez plays Shah Ala ad-Daula. Scriptwriter Jan Berger has adapted the hit novel. Visual effects are to be done by Pixomondo, the outfit behind Hugo. 

The Physician tells the story of Rob Cole, 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. 

It is 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, creative producer Ulrich Schwarz, story editing at ARD Degeto headed by Bettina Reitz and Roman Klink. The film is supported by Filmstiftung NRW, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Filmförderungsanstalt and Deutscher Filmförderfonds.