Gyllenhaal is Prince of Persia

If you’re a dashing young Persian actor struggling to get a break in Hollywood, you might think that a movie called Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time could be it. Then you find out that the white guy from Brokeback Mountain got the job. According to Daily Variety, Disney has confirmed that Jake Gyllenhaal has been cast in the title role of Jerry Bruchheimer’s adaptation of the hit video game from Ubisoft. The actor will be joined on screen by Gemma Arterton, the next Bond girl in Quantum of Solace, coming out in November.

Gyllenhaal takes on the role of Dastan, a prince in sixth-century Persia who teams up with a feisty, exotic princess to prevent a villainous nobleman from possessing the Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world. Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) is directing from a screenplay by Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, Boaz Yakin and game creator Jordan Mechner. Shooting is scheduled to begin in July in Morocco and London for a Summer 2009 release.

Inspired by The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, Mechner teamed with developer Br’derbund to launch the first Prince of Persia Game for PCs and early consoles in 1989. Ubisoft decided to bring the franchise to PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube in 2003 with Sands of Time, which has spawned six sequels.

Prior to taking his turn with the Harry Potter franchise, Newell directed a lot of British and U.S. TV before helming such popular films as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Donnie Brasco. His latest film, an adaptation of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel Love in the Time of Cholera, opened to mixed reviews in November.