Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Ben-Hur" Redux Has Found Jesus

THR reports that Rodrigo Santoro is in negotiations to join the new "Ben-Hur" film adaptation.

Keith Clarke ("The Way Back") wrote the initial adapted script before John Ridley took over.

The story is based on the bestselling 1880 book by Civil War General Lew Wallace. The property was adapted for big screen once before as William Wyler's 1959 film starring Charlton Heston.Wallace's novel is in the public domain.

"Boardwalk Empire" and "American Hustle" cohort Jack Huston is playing the lead. The epic drama follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him.Toby Kebbell will play that best friend, turned villainous Messala--who was portrayed by Stephen Boyd in the cinema classic.

"Ouija" and Psycho prequel TV series Bates Motel star Olivia Cooke would play the role of Tirzah, Ben-Hur's sister, who is imprisoned by Messala along with her mother (Man of Steel star Ayelet Zurer).

Morgan Freeman will play Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.

Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal is set to play Pontius Pilate in the film who is an important part in the story which includes a parallel storyline involving Jesus Christ (Santoro). In the book Ben-Hur sees Jesus preach while in Jerusalem and later watches his crucifixion.

 Dutch actor Marwan Kenzari will play Druses, a Roman captain who is tied to Messala’s betrayal, which sends Ben-Hur into slavery, and ultimately on a path to redemption. played the part previously.

also stars.

MGM is said to be keen on Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted," "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") vision which explores the original story's themes of revenge and redemption. Paramount will co-distribute the remake.

 Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel and Joni Levin will produce the film.

 Production begins in Europe shortly to meet a February 2016 release.

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