I won't rehash my general disinterest in the Biblical remakes trend (you can find my thoughts about that here), but I can't help but question why on earth would Hollywood revisit BEN-HUR, for crying out loud. Now I have to force myself to watch the original in its entirety and pretend to somewhat like it.
But anyway, according to a press release issued by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount Pictures on Monday, principal photography has commenced in Italy for the remake, which stars Jack Huston (American Hustle) as Judah Ben-Hur, Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby) as Ilderim, Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Messala, Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland) as Esther, and Rodrigo Santoro (300: Rise of an Empire) as Jesus Christ. Timur Bekmambetov is helming the feature, which gives me pause because he also directed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Wanted -- neither of which I can even get through. The script is co-written by John Ridley, whose career is on fire now after his Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave. He's also a producer on the film, along with Sean Daniel (The Mummy franchise), Mark Burnett (Son of God), and Roma Downey (The Bible).
For all of you who don't know, BEN-HUR is based Lew Wallace’s novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ." More below:
The film returns to the heart of Lew Wallace’s epic novel focusing on the nature of faith. The story follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.
BEN-HUR is slated for a February 26, 2016, release.