Emmy-nominated Moon Knight star Oscar Isaac has another voice role lined up before his turn in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse later this year. Per Deadline, Isaac, along with fellow Marvel alum Evangeline Lilly, Elliott Gould, and Billy Zane, has joined the cast for the biblical animated passion project Legend of Destruction from director Gidi Dar. Isaac will play Ben Batich, a follower of the Robin Hood-like rebel Simon Bar Giora (Zane) who progresses from a kind-hearted young man to a vicious zealot. Lilly will play the clever Queen Berenice who is willing to do anything for the sake of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem while Gould plays Batich’s uncle, the great Jewish sage Rabbi Ben Zakkai.
Set in 66 A.D. in Judea under Roman rule, the film documents the rising tensions as the Jews face a polarized society and severe injustice under the Roman Empire, leading to the Great Jewish Revolt. It follows the perspective of historical figures as the might of the Roman war machine is brought to bear on the rebels, resulting in a brutal and bloody civil war that ends with the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and marking the beginning of the 2,000-year exile of the Jewish people. A crucial tale for both Judaism and Christianity, Dar and Isaac spoke to its personal importance to them. “This story is at the core of Jewish existence, it is one of the darkest moments of my people, yet few know it. I felt compelled to tell it,” Dar told Deadline. “It is a story that has great historical sweep, but also is very intimate, it is about a personal relation between the lead character and God,” Isaac added.
Legend of Destruction has been a massive undertaking for Dar who worked on the project for nine years before finally bringing the film to life in Hebrew in 2021. The film utilizes a unique visual style, incorporating 1,500 original still paintings by Waltz With Bashir and The Congress artists David Polonsky and Michael Faust which are all edited together to create an epic war film. “Movement in cinema is an illusion,” Dar added. “There are 24 still frames per second. In Legend of Destruction, we tried to push the limits of this illusion a few steps ahead.”
The Cast Has Nothing But Praise for the Upcoming Movie
In addition to starring, Isaac, through his Mad Gene Media banner, and Lilly are both serving as executive producers on the project. Both actors had enormous praise for the production, even comparing it to other award-winning films. “Legend of Destruction is Vincent meets the Passion of the Christ,” Lilly said. “It is a harrowing historic tale told through vividly living and stunning still paintings. It is riveting.” Isaac drew comparisons to Gladiator, adding:
I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that it was going to be told using just still images. I started watching it and suddenly, within minutes, I was completely transported, and swept up into an epic story… I felt like I was watching Gladiator.
Expectations are high for Legend of Destruction considering its high-profile cast and award-winning reputation. Isaac and Elliott have both been nominated for the Emmys and Oscars respectively while Lilly and Zane have major titles under their belts including The Hobbit and Ant-Man franchises for Lilly and Titanic among others for Zane. The film itself was an overwhelming success at the Ophir Awards – the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars – scoring seven nominations and winning four awards. All three of Isaac, Lilly, and Zane have also referred to it as a strikingly relevant picture made more important than ever by deepening political and social divides.
There’s no word on when the new English version of the film will be released.