The Enterprise may not have landed in the Holy Land, but its captain has arrived. Sir Patrick Stewart, star of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" television series and "X-Men" movie franchise, landed in Israel on Thursday for the filming of Reshef Levy's new movie "Hunting Elephants."
The actor is slated to spend three weeks shooting the movie in Israel. He will spend the first weekend at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv, and on Thursday will move to the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem. Stewart will act alongside such well regarded Israeli actors as Sasson Gabai, Moni Moshonov, Moshe Ivgy and Yael Abecassis.
The actor said he decided to sign on to the project after reading the script and loving the comedic elements in it.
"I liked the script very much. I am not known as a comedian but I want to be remembered as someone who made everyone laugh," he explained.
The film is produced by Ehud Bleiberg and Leon Edery and Stewart was called in to replace John Cleese of Monty Python fame, who had to turn down the role due to medical reasons.
Stewart will play a British lord who meets a group of Israelis, including several elderly men and a young boy, who are intent on robbing a bank to avenge the death of the boy's father, who died in an accident that occurred at the same bank.
Stewart, a British actor, started out as a classically-trained Shakespearean actor, before landing his first international breakout role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Stewart's portrayal of the pioneering leader won him great critical acclaim, with Stewart reprising the role in several Star Trek movies. He then moved on to the similarly authoritative Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men movie series.
In 2010, Stewart was made a Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.