It took a little while for the new Ben-Hur movie to get its footing, but it’s now racing towards its scheduled release date later this year on August 12th. Jack Huston of Boardwalk Empire and American Hustle takes the lead role of Judah Ben-Hur in the biblical story, and the first look images have arrived.
Lady Gaga might want to change her song to “Ju-dah, Ju-dah-ah,” as these two new photos are all about Huston, who stepped into the title role after Tom Hiddleston was initially eyed. Huston told USA Today, which premiered the first look images, that he hopes people go into this film with an open mind, given the previous interpretations of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel. The most famous one came in 1959 from director William Wyler and his star Charlton Heston. It racked up 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. But this new film with Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov won’t be three-and-a-half hours long.
The story’s major moment is the chariot race. Ben-Hur is the story of Judah, a prince in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, who is betrayed by his adopted brother, and forced onto a slave ship. Five years later, he takes his revenge in a chariot race. Morgan Freeman, also featured in the first look, takes the role of Ilderim, who trains Judah.
Huston explained of the film:
“There’s something really beautiful about it, especially in the current climate of the world, about different religions and people being at odds against each other. How do we find our way out of this, how do we forgive, how do we forget, how do we move on, how should we treat our fellow human?”
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four) plays Messala, Judah’s back-stabbing adopted brother, while Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland) plays Judah’s love interest Esther, Rodrigo Santoro (300: Rise of an Empire) plays Jesus, and Pilou Asbaek (Lucy) plays Pontius Pilate. Check out Huston riding his chariot below.