It’s been a busy week of casting for MGM and Paramount’s upcoming Timur Bekmambetov-directed remake of Ben-Hur. Following word last night of “Boardwalk Empire” star Jack Huston landing the title role, comes word, via Variety, that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star Toby Kebbell is eyeing the antagonistic role of Messala. If he signs on, he’ll also join Morgan Freeman in the cast.
Set for a release on February 26, 2016, the new take on Ben-Hur was originally scripted by Keith Clarke (The Way Back), with revisions by Academy Award-winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). It is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 epic novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ.”
The film is said to return to the heart of the epic novel with a focus on the nature of faith. The story follows a falsely-accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.
Kebbell can be seen playing Dr. Victor Von Doom in Josh Trank’s The Fantastic Four and also appearing in Duncan Jones’ Warcraft.
Producers include Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel and Joni Levin with Jason F. Brown, Keith Clarke, Roma Downey and John Ridley serving as executive producer.