Morgan Freeman is a member the cast of MGM’s entirely unnecessary reboot of the classic sword-and-sandals epic “Ben-Hur,” based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.”
That Timur Bekmambetov (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Wanted”) is directing makes this an even tougher pill for me to swallow, given the filmmaker’s usual style. My fear is that this reboot will be closer in look and feel to films like “300” than anything resembling the epic 1959 Charleton Heston classic film, directed by William Wyler, that cleaned up at the Oscars that year (there was an even earlier adaptation of Wallace’s novel, in the 1920s).
John Ridley (“American Crime,” “12 Years a Slave”) rewrote the script for MGM.
Freeman plays Ilderim, the man who sponsors and trains the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion chariot racer. In the 1959 film, the character is an Arab sheikh, played by actor Hugh Griffith, who won an Oscar for his performance.
Jack Huston stars as the title character (Judah Ben-Hur). The cast also includes Nazanin Boniadi as love interest Esther, Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus, and Pilou Asbaek as Pontius Pilate.
The film is currently set for an August 12, 2016 release.
USA Today published a profile of the upcoming film, which includes the above first look photo featuring Huston as Ben-Hur and Freeman as Ilderim. Read the full piece here.