Bible thumper: Azaria takes ancient roles


Hank Azaria has signed on for two new film projects for Fox and Sony's Columbia.

The actor has joined the cast of Fox's "Night at the Museum 2: Escape From the Smithsonian," playing an all-powerful Egyptian pharaoh named Kah Mun Rah.

Azaria also will play Abraham in Judd Apatow's "Year One" for Columbia.

"Escape" is the sequel to Fox's blockbuster "Night at the Museum." Azaria joins a cast that includes Ben Stiller and Amy Adams.

Shawn Levy is directing a script penned by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. Scott Frank wrote the most recent draft. Levy's 21 Laps Entertainment and 1492 Pictures' Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe are producing.

"Year One," Apatow's next comedy project as producer, is set in biblical times and stars Jack Black and Michael Cera. Harold Ramis, who appeared in a small role in Apatow's "Knocked Up," is directing. Ramis is co-producing and penned the script with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. Owen Wilson is executive producing.

Azaria will conclude his Broadway run in "The Farnsworth Invention" on March 2. He also appeared on Broadway in "Monty Python's Spamalot," for which he was nominated in 2005 for a Tony Award for best leading role in a musical.

He voices several characters for Fox's "The Simpsons," including bartender Moe Szyslak and Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu. His film credits include "The Simpsons Movie," "Along Came Polly" and "The Birdcage."