MGM and Paramount have announced plans to remake the classic movie "Ben-Hur," having recently casted its lead role and other characters. Jack Huston, the British actor who had a recurring role on the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire," is slated to play the lead part, reported the BBC. Also said to be on board for the production will be Morgan Freeman, who will play one of the supporting roles, and John Ridley, an Academy Award-winning scriptwriter.
The movie is based on the book "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" written by Lew Wallace published on November 12, 1880. The story recounts the adventures of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. Judah's childhood friend Messala returns home as an ambitious commanding officer of the Roman legions. They come to realize that they have changed and hold very different views and aspirations. During a military parade, a loose tile is accidentally dislodged from the roof of Judah's house and hits the Roman governor, knocking him from his horse. Although Messala knows that they are not guilty of attempted assassination, he condemns the Ben-Hur family. Without trial, Judah is sent to the Roman galleys for life; his mother and sister are imprisoned in a cell previously used for lepers and all the family property is confiscated.
Through good fortune, befriending and saving the commander of his ship, Judah survives and is trained as a soldier. He returns to Jerusalem, where he seeks revenge against his one-time friend and redemption for his family. Running in parallel with Ben-Hur's narrative is the unfolding story of Jesus, who comes from the same region and is a similar age. The two reflect themes of betrayal, conviction and redemption. With the Crucifixion, Ben-Hur recognizes that the Christ stands for a different goal than revenge, and he becomes Christian, turning to supporting the new religion with money which he has inherited, inspired by love and the talk of keys to a greater kingdom than any on earth.
Silent adaptations of the novel were released to movie theatres in 1907 and 1925 with different casts and varied runtimes. The most notable film adaptation of the story came in 1959 and starred Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur and Stephen Boyd as his Roman friend-turned-enemy Messala.