An epic about the Crusades... (Hollywood Reporter) - "Matchstick Men" director Ridley Scott is mounting what appears to be his next film, a period epic titled "Kingdom of Heaven." Although details of the Fox project are being closely guarded, an early 2004 start date is being pegged. However, the project has yet to be greenlighted by the studio, sources said. William Monahan wrote the script, which centers on a young peasant who becomes a knight and falls in love with a queen during the crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries. Scott is said to be finalizing actors for the lead roles as well as prepping his crew, some of whom are leaving for Europe as soon as next week. The film is expected to shoot in northern Spain and Morocco. Names that have been bandied about for the lead male role include New Zealander Marton Csokas ("XXX"), and Englishmen Paul Bettany ("A Beautiful Mind"), Orlando Bloom ("The Lord of the Rings") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("Gangs of New York"), sources said. A 20th Century Fox representative declined comment on the project. Executives at Scott Free, the banner that Scott runs with younger brother Tony, could not be reached for comment. Ridley Scott's other credits include "Black Hawk Down," "Hannibal" and "Gladiator."