Movies give Pontius Pilate a bad wrap. Yes, he gave the orders to crucify Jesus Christ. But check canonical Biblical writing and one finds a tinge of reluctance, a man of power caving under the peoples' demands. Plus, would we still be talking about God's Son if Pilate didn't off him in the grisliest way possible? Silver linings.
Pending deals, the next on-screen Pilate could add all this nuance with a splash of smarmy charm. Deadline reports that “Game of Thrones” favorite Pedro Pascal is in talks to play Judaea's prefect in the upcoming remake of “Ben-Hur.” The film is said to skew closer to Lew Wallace's 1880 novel than the 1959 Charlton Heston-led epic, which chronicled the parallel stories of Jewish prince-turned-slave Judah Ben-Hur's quest for revenge and Christ's Passion. The in the original film, Pilate presides over the major chariot race setpiece and orders Jesus' death. He has a meatier part in the book, throwing Ben-Hur a bone by releasing his wrongfully imprisoned mother and sister.
If Pascal sign on for the role, he'll join “Boardwalk Empire” costar Jack Huston (in the title role), Toby Kebbell, as Ben-Hur's rival Messala, Morgan Freeman as Ildarin, and Gal Gadot in an unspecified role. “The Way Back” screenwriter Keith Clarke penned the script, which recently underwent a rewrite by “12 Years A Slave” Oscar-winner John Ridley. “Son of God” producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey joined a gaggle of producers back in April to ensure more Christian butts in seats. If it sounds like the makings of a potential prestige picture, know that “Wanted” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” director Timur Bekmambetov will helm “Ben-Hur.” I wonder what attracted him to the project?
After successfully hijacking our “Game of Thrones” love as Oberyn Martell a.k.a. the Red Viper of Dorne and departing the show in a facial of blood, Pascal has been taking full advantage of hew his newfound exposure. He'll next appear on Netflix's Pablo Escobar show “Narcos,” directed by “Robocop” and “Elite Squad” director José Padilha.
Sharp readers will recall that Brad Pitt reportedly circled a Pontius Pilate-centric film back in January 2013. There's will little movement on the project since. So is Oberyn the right fit for a contemporary re-approach to Pontius Pilate? Pascal can blur those morals and add the grace of regality… but can he sing?