Morgan Freeman Also Getting Epic for MGM & Paramount's 'Ben-Hur'
Just after news surfaced that Morgan Freeman would be playing a civil rights lawyer in Ted 2, the actor has also landed a role in Paramount Pictures and MGM's gestating new take on Ben-Hur. Like the original film, it's 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. But this version is more faithful to the book as it also ties in with the tale of Jesus Christ, with whom Ben-Hur has several encounters, moving him to become a believer in the Messiah, which culminates in Christ being sentenced to death. So who will Freeman play?
Deadline reports Freeman will take the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion caliber chariot racer. This first bit of official casting seems to intentionally go out of the way to make sure the film from director Timur Bekmambetov doesn't get the same whitewashing complaints that Ridley Scott's forthcoming Exodus: Gods & Kings has been receiving. Otherwise, the only name linked to the lead role of Judah Ben-Hur so far has been Tom Hiddleston, and it's still not clear if he will take the role or not. The film is set for release on February 26th, 2016, so production would need to begin later this year or early next year. Stay tuned as the cast of this film grows.