Jack Huston Lands Lead In ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake With Morgan Freeman

Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston has been picked to play the coveted lead role in the remake of Ben-Hur, originally made famous by Charlton Heston.

Jack Huston has impressed everyone as the scarred war veteran, Richard Harrow, on the HBO prohibition-era series, Boardwalk Empire, and it was just a matter of time to see which studio would snatch up the actor and for what part.

Jack Huston as Richard Harrow in 'Boardwalk Empire'

The studios are MGM and Paramount, and they’ve set their collective sights on a remake of the 1959 epic, Ben-Hur. Timur Bekmambetov is directing what will undoubtedly be one of the most talked about remakes in the history of cinema. Deadline reports that Morgan Freeman has also been cast in the film. Freeman will play Ildarin, the man who teaches Ben-Hur to be a master chariot driver while Ben-Hur is a slave.

There’s still no word on who will play the part of Messala, Ben-Hur’s close friend at the beginning of the film.

If you’ve never seen the original Ben-Hur, you really are missing out on one of the grandest epics of its time. Ben-Hur tells the story of a Jewish prince named Judah Ben-Hur who lives in Jerusalem. His old friend Messala – a commanding officer of the Roman legions – comes to visit along with the new governor. At first it’s all smiles and platitudes, but then a roof tile slides off of Ben-Hur’s house and injures the governor. Though it’s no one’s fault, Messala throws Ben-Hur’s mother and sister into prison and sends the Jewish prince into slavery.

The rest of the film revolves around Ben-Hur’s plan for revenge.

Released in 1959, Ben-Hur showcased one of the most popular and exciting film sequences of all time, the chariot race. That sequence alone boasted the participation of over 15 thousand extras. According to FilmSite, Ben-Hur was the most expensive movie ever made up to that point. The original film was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning 11 Oscars it was, (a record number of wins for a single film, tied only by Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).

Charlton Heston in the original 'Ben-Hur'

Jack Huston also just signed a deal to play Wickham in the film version of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Huston’s name had also been bandied about for the coveted role in a new Marvel film. Huston, along with other such actors as Johnny Depp, Jared Leto and Benedict Cumberbatch were all on a short list of actors rumored to be up for the role of Doctor Strange in the Marvel film of the same name, however, it now appears that that role has been offered to Joaquin Phoenix, (though the actor still hasn’t decided whether or not to take it).

The remake of Ben-Hur starring Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman begins shooting in Europe next year.

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