After having the lead role in Spider-Man 2 cruelly taken from him by a recalcitrant Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal has been without a franchise. All young actors (except Leo) need a franchise. It’s the new Hollywood way, and the movie star equivalent of a 401K – no matter how badly things go, you can always count on showing up in your next blockbuster sequel!*

After much rumormongering for months and months (including some ludicrous rumors that there would actually be ethnically appropriate casting!), Jake has signed on to star in a movie version of Prince Of Persia, based on the video game just good enough to make you forgive it for being so frustrating.

Also starring will be new Bond babe Gemma Arterton; she’s playing a ‘feisty’ princess who teams up with the Prince to stop a bad guy (who will probably be cast in an ethnically appropriate way!) from getting the fabled Sands of Time. Mike Newell, a director over whom it is impossible to get worked up either way, is helming (ie, being the mouthpiece of producer Jerry Bruckheimer), and production begins this July. Gyllenhaal has been seen spending a lot of time in the bronzer section of his local CVS; now we know why. The question remains as to why he’s hanging out in front of the KY display, though.

*This is the ultimate tragedy of Ben Affleck, who failed with at least two franchise starters.