Jack Huston is your new “Ben-Hur.”
The “Boardwalk Empire” star has been set to play the title role in MGM and Paramount's upcoming remake, according to Deadline. Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) is set to direct the epic film, in which Morgan Freeman was previously cast as Ildarin, the man who trains Ben-Hur to become a champion chariot racer. As we reported last month, Tom Hiddleston had previously been eyed for the lead role.
Best known for his role as masked hitman Richard Harrow on the HBO crime drama, Huston has also appeared in a number of recent films including “American Hustle,” “Kill Your Darlings” and David Chase's “Not Fade Away.” Upcoming big-screen credits for the actor include “Posthumous” opposite Brit Marling, Nicholas Sparks adaptation “The Longest Ride” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” an adaptation of the bestselling mashup novel by Seth Grahame-Smith.
Based on the hugely popular 1880 novel by Lew Wallace, “Ben-Hur” has been adapted a number of times for the screen, the most famous being William Wyler's Oscar-winning 1959 version starring Charlton Heston. The story centers on Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur and his rivalry with childhood friend Messala, a Roman commanding officer who has him falsely convicted for an alleged assassination attempt on the Roman governor. After being condemned to the Roman galleys, Judah later returns to Jerusalem to seek revenge on Messala – a scenario that culminates in the climactic chariot race made famous in Wyler's film.The new adaptation, which was penned by Keith Clarke and rewritten by Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” scribe John Ridley, will reportedly give more weight to the parallel story of Jesus Christ that unfolds in the original novel.
“Ben-Hur” is slated for release on February 26, 2016.