For a few years now Jack Huston has emerged as one of the most dependable younger actors for supporting roles in the likes of Twilight: Escape, Kill Your Darlings, American Hustle and in several seasons of Boardwalk Empire.
However he’s rarely been given the lead role, and certainly not in a huge studio tentpole. That’s changing though as MGM Studios and Paramount are betting big on him by casting him in the title role in their planned remake of Ben-Hur, according to Deadline.
Just a few weeks ago it was rumoured Tom Hiddleston was the first choice for the role, although at the time it was clear the actor was busy choosing between offers. Now it appears Hiddleston has gone for Skull Island instead, leaving Huston to take on Ben-Hur.
Keith R. Clarke wrote the spec script for the film, 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 1950s version focussed on the section of the story that was about 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 before the Roman Empire conquered Jerusalem.
This 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.
The search is now on for an actor to play Messala. Morgan Freeman recently signed up to play the man who mentors Ben-Hur in the art of chariot racing.
Timur Bekmambetov is set to direct, with a February 26th, 2016 release date set.