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Published On: Thu, Sep 11th, 2014

Morgan Freeman cast in Timur Bekmambeto’s remake of ‘Ben-Hur’

Production is set for 2015 and MGM, Paramount and director Timur Bekmambetov announced the first casting for the new Ben-Hur film.

Charlton Heston 1924 - 2008Deadline reports that Morgan Freeman will play the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion caliber chariot racer. The production will begin in Europe “early next year.”

“The studios are getting close to finding their Judah Ben-Hur and his friend turned bitter rival Messala. I’ve reported that Tom Hiddleston was one of those being courted, and at this point it’s not clear if he will take part,” the Sept 11. article states.

This film version will reportedly adhere closely to the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ–the biggest-selling novel of its time until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind.

Charlton Heston starred in the 1959 film directed by William Wyler. Keith Clarie wrote the script and John Ridley did the rewrite. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey joined Sean Daniel and Joni Levin as producers, with Clarke and Jason Brown exec producing.

The new Ben-Hur is set to arrive in theaters on February 26, 2016.

Original Ben-Hur synopsis via IMDB:

Judah Ben-Hur lives as a rich Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. Together with the new governor his old friend Messala arrives as commanding officer of the Roman legions. At first they are happy to meet after a long time but their different politic views separate them. During the welcome parade a roof tile falls down from Judah’s house and injures the governor. Although Messala knows they are not guilty, he sends Judah to the galleys and throws his mother and sister into prison. But Judah swears to come back and take revenge.

Screenshot/NPR video

Screenshot/NPR video

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About the Author

- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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  1. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ star Jack Huston cast as lead in ‘Ben-Hur’ remake - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Freeman will play Ben-Hur’s mentor, Ildarin, with more casting news likely since production will begin […]

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