Abruptly in-demand young actor Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”) has been cast in the title role in MGM Studio’s and Paramount’s “Ben-Hur” remake.
Huston, who appeared in last year’s “American Hustle” and will be seen in both “The Longest Ride” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, is the second to board the Chariot, after Morgan Freeman was announced a week or so back.
Deadline had the scoop :
MGM and Paramount have found Ben-Hur. The studios are setting Jack Huston, and you just knew he was going to get a big, star-making film role after his portrayal of the masked, war-scarred assassin Richard Harrow on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. It would be hard to imagine a bigger-scale picture than Ben-Hur, with Timur Bekmambetov directing the epic remake in Europe next year. Huston joins Morgan Freeman, whom Deadline broke will play the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.
MGM and Paramount still have to find their Messala, Ben-Hur’s former close friend-turned-bitter rival. Actors have been circling both parts, and it looked for a while there like Huston might have played the latter. He read for that role, but Bekmambetov decided instead he had the sympathetic manner and grit to play the title role, the one that brought a Best Actor Academy Award to Charlton Heston for the 1959 William Wyler-directed pic that won 11 Oscars in total. They’ve set a February 26, 2016, release date on the epic film, which has a script by Keith Clarke that John Ridley rewrote. 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. Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel and Joni Levin are producers, with Clarke and Jason Brown exec producing with Roma Downey.
Messala will be the next major role to be filled.
The new 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.