Helmer Timur Bekmambetov (NIGHT WATCH/DAY WATCH, WANTED, ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER) has found his lead/title player for the upcoming retelling of BEN-HUR: Jack Huston (BOARDWALK EMPIRE, AMERICAN HUSTLE, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE). The film is currently targeting a February 2016 release.
We learned last week that Morgan Freeman would also be joining the cast of the film, playing Ildarin, “the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.”
This one hews closely to the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ – the biggest-selling novel of its time until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind.
This version of Ben-Hur plays up the parallel storyline of Jesus Christ, but the main drama is the blood feud between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, who grew up best friends before the Roman Empire took control of Jerusalem.
…says THIS piece in Deadline. The aforementioned Messala character has yet to be cast.
Tom Hiddleston was apparently courted for the Ben-Hur role along the way, efforts which clearly didn’t pan out. This said, Hiddleston is rather busy these days: he was recently announced as the lead of the KONG-flavored SKULL ISLAND, and we’ll soon be seeing him sing in a Hank Williams biopic. If you’re wondering what that might sound like, he recently crashed a music fest and sang a Williams tune for the masses - resulting in this phone capture.