Published On: Fri, May 8th, 2015

Pope Francis blesses Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus for ‘Ben-Hur’

The Brazilian actor who starred in the 300 films and on Lost, received an audience with Pope Francis on Wednesday and received a special blessing, captured in a photo by co-star Nazanin Boniadi, who plays Esther in the Ben-Hur remake. Rodrigo will portray Jesus Christ in the remake of the Charlton Heston classic, directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

Charlton Heston 1924 - 2008Boniadi posted several other photos on Instagram from the Vatican excursion, including one in which she thanked Touched by an Angel actress Roma Downey, a Roman Catholic and the co-creator of the History Channel mini-sieries The Bible, in which she also played Mary, Jesus’ mother, writes People.

Check out this photo below and other on Nazanin’s page: https://instagram.com/nazaninboniadi/

Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) stars in the epic film as Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, played by Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Doctor Doom in the upcoming Fantastic Four), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the film also stars Morgan Freeman as Messala, his mentor/trainer.

Check out the full remark by Timur on remaking the “original.”

Ben-Hur opens in theaters on February 26, 2016.

Rodrigo Santoro blessed by Pope Francis I  photo/ Nazanin Boniadi

Rodrigo Santoro blessed by Pope Francis I photo/ Nazanin Boniadi

Timur to Collider on remaking the classic film:

When we say “original Ben-Hur,” we have to be very concrete about which original version we are talking about. The are two big screen versions made, in 1926 and 1959. These are the two most famous ones. There was also a Broadway stage version at the beginning of the century. There have been a lot of television versions. The Ben-Hur story reminds me of “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” and any story written by Chekhov. It is timeless, so every new generation wants to go back to it in order to adapt it for the new world. The screen version made in 1959 runs for four hours, and there is only a small number of people who can actually stay through the whole movie. It is about people different from us. And it’s normal, because people used to be different. The audience was different, too, as well as the cinema language the film was made in. The 1959 movie was about revenge, not about forgiveness. For me that was the main problem, as I think that the novel is mainly about forgiveness, about the fact that a human being learned how to forgive. I got so excited about the project when I read John Ridley’s script. I understood that John’s vision of the story has so much light to it, and that he shares the same thoughts about a certain morals as I do. We talked with him about our modern world, which actually reminds me very much of a huge Roman Empire. In the Roman Empire, the most important important values were pride, rivalry, power, strength, the dictatorship of power and self-love. This kind of world does not have any prospects today. Humanity has to learn how to love and forgive. This would be our only solution.

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