A pair of actors have entered into negotiations to join Ben-Hur, the latest adaptation of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The book was of course previously turned into the 1959 classic starring Charlton Heston that went on to win 11 Academy Awards.
It’s being reported that Gal Gadot, who’s best known (though only seen in a single image so far) as the new Wonder Woman for upcoming DC Comics movies beginning with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Pedro Pascal, who won many fans as Prince Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne, on the most recent season of Game of Thrones, are both in talks for the movie. Gadot would play the female lead, Esther, a slave Ben-Hur is in love with. Pascal is up for the role of Pontius Pilate.
The movie aims to stay closer to the original Wallace novel and its parallel Jesus Christ storyline, in which Pilate plays a significant role of course, than the aforementioned Heston version. That said, the primary focus will still be on the former best friends who grow to become bitter enemies, Ben-Hur and Messala.
The lead role of Ben-Hur is set to be played by Boardwalk Empire star Jack Huston, with Messala being played by Toby Kebbell. Morgan Freeman is also on board, set to play Ildarin.
Night Watch, Day Watch, Wanted, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director Timur Bekmambetov is behind the camera for Ben-Hur, which begins production early next year and is currently scheduled for release on February 26, 2016. Keith Clarke (The Way Back) and John Ridley, who won an Oscar for his 12 Years A Slave screenplay and also, believe it or not, created and wrote the screenplay for Undercover Brother.