Morgan Freeman is a busy man, as just a day after it was revealed he’s going to appear in Ted 2, it’s been announced that he’s joined the cast of the planned remake of Ben-Hur, according to Deadline.
Keith R. Clarke wrote the spec script for the film with Timur Bekmambetov directing, which is said to be more faithful to Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel than the multi-Oscar winning 1959 movie, which starred Charlton Heston.
The 50s version focussed on the section of the story that details the feud between the Jewish Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and his Roman former friend Messalla (Stephen Boyd). The new film is said to further explore these characters’ formative years, when they grew up together as best friends before the Roman Empire conquered Jerusalem.
The film will also include the story of Jesus Christ, whose story is told in parallel to Ben-Hur’s. Although this was touched on in the Charlton Heston film, it’s said to be more central to the remake.
Morgan Freeman is set to play Ildarin, the man who teaches Ben-Hur to become a champion charioteer.
It’s also reported that MGM and Paramount are close to officially signing the actors who will play Ben-Hur and Mesalla. Tom Hiddleston was recently reported to be top choice for the title role, but it’s not clear if he’s still in contention.