Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland and Mark Strong are sharpening their swords for director Kevin Macdonald's Roman epic The Eagle of the Ninth.

The quartet have signed to star in the film, which is based on the 1954 children's novel by Rosemary Sutcliff. The script is by Jeremy Brock, who last worked with Macdonald on the Idi Amin drama The Last King of Scotland.

Set in 2nd-century Britain, the movie follows the story of young centurion Marcus Aquila (played by Tatum), who arrives from Rome to solve the mystery of the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland and to restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth.

The film is being financed by Focus Features, a specialty unit of Universal, and U.K. broadcaster Channel Four's filmmaking arm, Film4.