Jake Gyllenhaal has been signed to play the lead role in the Disney adaptation of hit videogame Prince of Persia.

The Donnie Darko star will play sixth century prince Dastan in the Mike Newell-directed film, set to begin production in Morocco and London this July.

And starring alongside Gyllenhaal will be British actress Gemma Arterton as feisty princess Tamina, who joins forces with Dastan to prevent the all-powerful Sands of Time falling into the hands of an evil nobleman.

Arterton's casting marks the continuation of the Rada graduate's increasing fame, having won the role of MI6 operative Agent Fields in Quantum of Solace, the 22nd James Bond film.

According to Jerry Bruckheimer, who is producing Prince of Persia, Arterton's star quality is clear.

"We've been fairly fortunate with some our leading ladies," he told the Hollywood Reporter.

"Some of them have gone on to become major movie stars, going back to Nicole Kidman in a movie I did a long time ago called Days of Thunder to Keira Knightley out of [Pirates of the Caribbean]."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Newell will shoot a script penned by Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard and Boaz Yakin in conjunction with Jordan Mechner, creator of the Ubisoft game.

Though he would not elaborate on the budget for Prince of Persia, likely to be released in summer 2009, he added: "It's not one of our smaller productions."

21/05/2008 08:06:10