Ian McShane has signed on to star in the fantasy, The Dark Is Rising for 20th Century Fox and Walden Media.

David Cunningham is directing the film; Frances Conroy and Alexander Ludwig also star. It's part of a five-book series by Susan Cooper; Variety notes The Dark Is Rising focuses on a kid, Will Stanton (Ludwig), who discovers at age 11 that he's the last of a group of immortals, the Old Ones, dedicated to fighting a growing presence of dark forces. He comes to the realization he's charged with saving the world. McShane will play Merriman Lyon, one of the Old Ones who serves as Stanton's mentor and shield.

John Hodge is adapting the project for the big screen; production on The Dark Is Rising begins this month in Romania.