3 minute preview: ‘Ben-Hur’

ben-hurWho’s in it and what’s it about?

A story of both revenge and redemption, culminating in a high-stakes chariot race, and one whose budget-busting, box-office record-breaking 1959 adaptation starred Charlton Heston in the leading role and collected an astonishing 11 Oscars. Quite a reputation to live up to.

Here Jack Huston plays the title character, a Judean prince who emerges from the bowels of a slave ship after five years in captivity, returning to his former life to find it comprehensively ruined by none other than Messala, the man who — in this version — he once called brother.

Huston comes to the film from TV series “Boardwalk Empire” and Oscar winner “American Hustle,” while Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman plays his ally and sponsor, Sheik Ilderim; Toby Kebbell of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “Warcraft” becomes Messala.

Brazilian “Lost” actor Rodrigo Santoro goes from playing Biblical character Xerxes in “300” to Biblical character Jesus in “Ben-Hur,” provoking the prince to consider an alternative approach to revolution; while his inclusion is part of the original story, modern faith-based interpretations such as “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “Noah” and History channel miniseries “The Bible” have also been subject to renewed interest in recent years.

Who’s behind it?

Timur Bekmambetov of vampire movies “Night Watch” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” and comic book adaptation “Wanted” worked from a script provided by John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) and Keith Clarke.

When’s it out?

An August 19 release date in the US and Canada follows hot on the heels of same-week releases in Brazil, Russia, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, India, and Argentina are among territories screening “Ben-Hur” from August 25; it comes to Germany on September 2, France, the UK and Ireland on September 7, South Korea on September 14 and Malaysia the next day, and Japan from January 13, 2017.

-AFP Relaxnews