Doctor Zhivago at IMDb
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ITV picks newcomer for Dr Zhivago role
The Guardian -Lisa O'Carroll,
A little-known actor has been chosen for the title role in the TV remake of Dr Zhivago, a role immortalised by screen idol Omar Sharif.
It means the two main roles in the remake of the 1965 cinema classic will be taken by newcomers.
Hans Matheson, a 26-year-old Scottish-born actor, will play alongside 17-year-old Keira Knightly, who has been been given the difficult task of recapturing the role made famous by Julie Christie in the original version of the Boris Pasternak novel about love in the Russian revolution.
ITV made its decision to cast Matheson just before Christmas after failing to clinch a deal with Ioan Gruffud. Sources say he was too expensive. Executives admit it was difficult to find someone young enough who would fill the screen with the charisma and allure of Sharif.
"We looked at all sorts of people. There was no problem finding attractive young men for the role but the difficulty was finding someone in their early twenties," said one ITV executive.
The £7m adaptation, which will be shot in Prague, will also star Sam Neill, who has eaten up a sizeable portion of the casting budget.
Matheson has appeared in a number of films, including Still Crazy with Billy Connolly and Mojo.
Wednesday January 9, 2002 Back to Doctor Zhivago page.