Morgan Freeman Joins Ben-Hur

As chariot racing tutor Ildarin


by James White |
Published on

We do not know who will anchor the new Ben-Hur as of yet – though Tom Hiddleston is chief among those who have been rumoured – but one cast member at least is in place. Morgan Freeman has officially signed on to the film.

Taken once again from Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel, the new version will chronicle more of the younger days of Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, best friends growing up in Jerusalem before the Roman Empire takes over. Ben-Hur is a Jewish prince and Messala the son of a Roman tax collector who is packed off to be educated in Rome for five years. Upon his return, he mocks our hero for his religion, and, after an accident he pins on his friend, finds a way to have him sold into slavery. Cue a quest for revenge that culminates (at least in the 1959 Charlton Heston film) in the iconic chariot race.

Freeman’s character, Ildarin, will be the man to teach our hero about the fine art of chariot racing, moulding him to become a master at the reins.

Timur Bekmambetov is set to direct, working from a script that has seen writing by Keith Clarke, and, more recently, 12 Years A Slave’s John Ridley. The film is currently scheduled to arrive in the UK on February 19, 2016.

Freeman recently joined Seth MacFarlane’s comedy sequel **Ted 2 and will next on screen in Dolphin Tale 2, hitting the UK on October 3.

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