More casting news for the Denzel Washington futuristic epic, The Book of Eli. As previously reported Washington will play the lead in the Hughes Brothers project that co-stars Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson and Jennifer Beals. A new mystical element has been added to the film as Irish actor Michael Gambon has just joined the cast. According to THR, “Gambon will play one half of a strangle couple that holds onto old traditions in the futuristic tale.”

Prior to this casting development there wasn’t a final release date set for Eli, but that is no longer the case.

Warner Bros.-based Alcon Entertainment and Silver Pictures are co-producing the film, which Warners will release domestically Jan. 15, 2010, while Summit Entertainment handles international sales. Alcon’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson are producing “Eli” along with Joel Silver and Washington.

Michael Gambon is best known for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series. He replaced Richard Harris in the role after the actor died of complications from Hodgkins disease in 2002.You can see Gambon in full Dumbledore mode when Harry Potter and the Half- Blood Prince is released this summer.