It was revealed earlier this week that MGM and Paramount had chosen Morgan Freeman to play Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer in Timur Bekmambetov’s upcoming Ben-Hur remake, and they have now found their leading man in the form of Jack Huston.
The American Hustle and Boardwalk Empire star (who played the beloved Richard Harrow on the HBO series) was expected to land a leading movie role sooner rather than later and you can’t really get much bigger than taking on the one which won Charlton Heston an Oscar in the award winning 1959 version.
This new take on Ben-Hur is set to be released on February 26th, 2016 and the script was written by Keith Clarke (The Way Back) before getting a rewrite from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). This version will apparently stick closely to the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ. The site which broke this news also have a plot synopsis of sorts giving us a better idea of the direction the movie will take:
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. Ben-Hur was a Jewish prince and Messala the son of a Roman tax collector. After the latter leaves to be educated in Rome for five years, the young man returns with a different attitude and mocks Judah and his religion. When a procession passes by Judah’s house and a roof tile accidentally falls and hits the governor, Messala betrays his childhood friend and manipulates the accident so that Judah is sold into slavery and certain death on a Roman warship, with his mother and sister thrown in prison for life. Judah vows revenge, culminating in the famed chariot races.