Morgan Freeman Also Getting Epic for MGM & Paramount's 'Ben-Hur'

September 11, 2014
Source: Deadline

Morgan Freeman

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.

Find more posts: Casting, Development, Movie News



I hope he tears up the screen. I want to see him give the acting performance of a lifetime. Maybe even upstage his SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION performance.

DAVIDPD on Sep 11, 2014


timur bekmambetov going to direct a remake of ben hur? This is very bad news. I have no problem with his movies but this remake deserves a director with more importance, like Fincher, Spielberg, Mendes. It will be filled with cgi, fast cutting and no character development or timur must have a change in creational vision. But on the other hand I would like to see a Jesus who kicks ass when nailed down on a cross! okay I give it a chance 🙁

Avi on Sep 12, 2014


Spielberg doesn't deserve to have his name next to Fincher in the context of that post.

Bloost on Sep 12, 2014



Avi on Sep 12, 2014


He can't make a film as good as The Social Network. He almost did with Schindler's List but had to ruin it with that ending.

Bloost on Sep 12, 2014


yep but he made jaws, jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, close encounters, et. So Fincher isn't even in the same ballpark as Spielberg.. He is playing in a minor league compared to Spielberg...

Avi on Sep 12, 2014


Those are good entertainment, I'll admit, but I look for meaningful films, like Fight Club and Se7en. Spielberg just doesn't handle the kind of visual poetry Fincher possesses. That doesn't mean I won't watch Jurassic Park for popcorn fun.

Bloost on Sep 12, 2014


I admit that Fincher has a better visual style than Spielberg, but as a story teller Spielberg is the best(maybe the best ever) Ask not movie buffs people who Fincher is and they will not know who is. When you get your name on a poster as a director you are very great. Onley a few will accomplish that..

Avi on Sep 12, 2014


Isn't Fincher's name on the Gone Girl posters?

Bloost on Sep 12, 2014


maybe and he is making name for himself indeed. But compared to Spielberg he realy of a lower league. O yeah almost forgot! saving private ryan! it redefined movies...

Avi on Sep 12, 2014


I disagree. Ryan is another film that could've been splendid if Spielberg didn't resort to his usual sentimentality with the ending. Full Metal Jacket is my favorite war film. Apocalypse Now is a close 2nd.

Bloost on Sep 12, 2014


that's a different story... first he made jaws (creation of the blockbuster summer) Than he made jurassic park(introducing cgi) than he made saving private ryan(from that point of movies started with a climax).. Realy spielberg is a Different league compared to all directors, sorry..

Avi on Sep 12, 2014


Well, I loved Hook. Robin Williams was perfection and the direction was really good.

Bloost on Sep 12, 2014


strange that's the only movie I think that's is not Spielberg worthy...

Avi on Sep 12, 2014


The plot thickens! I found it to be an interesting insight in why Peter Pan is Peter Pan. Plus, the whole thing is an allegory for Spielberg's career, not to mention his relationship with his dad. The cheesiness, surprisingly, worked for what the film was. There's a lot to like about the film but it's very subtle.

Bloost on Sep 12, 2014


than maybe I can't see the underline of the movie and I thought Robin Williams wasn't a good casting choice! But we can disagree...

Avi on Sep 13, 2014


As soon as I read the headline I guessed he'd be playing Ildarin. I absolutely love the original film so this remake better be damn good. It's funny that this role is the one to supposedly dispel whitewashing complaints since the original role was played by a Welshman, Hugh Griffith. The entire cast was white. So who cares what color the actors are for the remake?

David Diaz on Sep 12, 2014

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