'Boardwalk Empire' Star Jack Huston Takes Lead in 'Ben-Hur' Remake
After flirting with Tom Hiddleston for the lead role in MGM & Paramount's remake of the classic epic Ben-Hur, Deadline reports the studios have instead picked up "Boardwalk Empire" star Jack Huston to take the title role in the film directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Leading up to his casting, Huston actually could have ended up playing Messala, the close friend of Judah Ben-Hur who becomes his nemesis, but the director decided Huston was better suited for the lead role. Now the search is still on to find an actor to play Messala, but that announcement shouldn't be too far behind.
Morgan Freeman was the first to officially join the cast recently as Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion caliber chariot racer. As we've reported previously, this version of Ben-Hur is more faithful to the book as the story of Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, the son of a Roman tax collector, who grew up best friends before the Roman Empire rose to power, also ties in with the tale of Jesus Christ, with whom Ben-Hur has several encounters. This movies Ben-Hur towards becoming a believer in the Messiah, which culminates in Christ being sentenced to death.
Huston has been on the verge of a big breakthrough for awhile now, and this film could end up being it. He also just recently landed a role in the long-gestating adaptation of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and will be seen in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Longest Ride, so audiences will certainly get more familiar with him before Ben-Hur arrives on February 26th, 2016. While a film of this scale has promise, the release date early in 2016 does warrant some concern since not very many great movies have been release in that window. But it's far too early to make that call, so we'll wait until we see a trailer. Thoughts?