Sam Neill has joined the ensemble of the four-hour miniseries The Dovekeepers, CBS announced Monday.
Based on Alice Hoffman's acclaimed historical novel about extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada in ancient Israel, the program is being executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. It is scheduled for broadcast in 2015.
Neill will portray the "somewhat controversial first-century Jewish scholar and historian" Josephus, the network said.
"We are delighted to have the incredibly talented Sam Neill, an actor whose breadth of experience will bring such depth and vision to the role of Josephus," Downey said in a statement. "Sam is a wonderfully exciting choice to bring Josephus to life in this gripping story of Masada."
The cast also includes Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan, Kathryn Prescott and Diego Boneta. The Dovekeepers is currently in production in Malta.
Neill's credits include the films The Piano, Jurassic Park, The Horse Whisperer and Bicentennial Man, as well as the TV series The Tudors.