Though five years have passed since the second Night at the Museum opened, 20th Century Fox is still convinced that fans of the first two films in their family-friendly adventure series will turn out in droves for a third installment, and so the studio is busily working away on Night at the Museum 3. The Shawn Levy-directed threequel, set for release this Christmas, has been quickly assembling a main cast over the past few months. Now, Deadline has news that the film has landed venerated British thesp Ben Kingsley for the main villainous role.
Kingsley will play “a formidable Egyptian pharaoh on display in the British Museum,” who is revived by the magical tablet that similarly brought exhibits to life in 2006′s Night at Museum and its 2009 sequel Battle of the Smithsonian.
We already knew that Night at the Museum 3 would be moving the action to London, but Kingsley’s casting comes alongside confirmation that the film will be set in the British Museum. Ben Stiller will reprise his role as night security guard Larry Daley, along with returning stars Robin Williams, playing 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, Ricky Gervais as Larry’s boss Dr. McPhee, Owen Wilson, as miniature cowboy Jedediah Smith and Steve Coogan, as Jedediah’s Roman general friend, Octavius.
Another newcomer to the cast is Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens, playing an evil version of Sir Lancelot who is also raised when the tablet makes its way to the British Museum. Furthermore, Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson will have a role as a museum guard in the British Museum.
Production on the film is due to begin next month, with Levy directing from a script by Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, David Guion and Michael Handelman. The director is already on a time crunch with Night at the Museum 3 if there’s any hope of it being ready for a December 2014 release date, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if Fox ended up pushing it back to 2015.
Do you think there’s still juice in this franchise and, perhaps more importantly, are you even interested in checking out the continued misadventures of Larry Daley and co.? Let us know in the comments section!
Night at the Museum 3 opens on December 25, 2014.