Remember, this is a new adaptation of the novel and not a remake of the Charleton Heston film. or the recent mini series. Or the silent film. And now we have some cast members!
First up is [Morgan Freeman](http://deadline.com/2014/09/morgan-freeman-set-for-ben-hur-redo-833262/). He joins the cast as Ildarin, the man who teaches Judah Ben-Hur to be a champion chariot racer. The character was called Ilderim in the 1959 film. This change is likely because this film is totally not a remake.
Next up, [Toby Kebbell](http://variety.com/2014/film/news/toby-kebbell-ben-hur-messala-casting-1201308652/) is joining the film as Messala, Judah Ben-Hur’s childhood best friend turned bitter adult rival. The two grow up together, Ben-Hur a Jewish prince and Messala the son of a Roman. Messala eventually betrays Ben-Hur who is then sold into slavery and his family imprisoned. Ben-Hur then vows revenge and survives years of slavery and hardship to get his chance.
The idea behind this not-remake is to lean more heavily on the relationship between the two men (as well as the subplot with Jesus Christ). Kebbell is a hell of an actor and while I’m not totally familiar with him I hear nothing but good things about the guy playing Ben-Hur himself so hopefully there are some great scenes between them. And on that topic…
Last but not least, [Jack Huston](http://deadline.com/2014/09/ben-hur-remake-cast-jack-huston-boardwalk-empire-835419/) has been cast as Judah Ben-Hur. I’m not overly familiar with him but people love him on Boardwalk Empire and I liked him in last years _American Hustle_. He’s been in a smattering of other things I’ve seen and he’s always been good so, again, here’s hoping this turns out well.
Again, the film is going to lean more on the early parts of their friendship because it’s completely not a remake of the 1959 film. I’m curious how that’s gonna work because it sounds like they might gloss over some of the trials and hardships that he has to go through before getting his revenge? That’s not a bad thing necessarily, I’m just not convinced this movie needs to be made again. So it’s good it’s not a remake.
Ben-Hur is set for a February 2016 release so we’ve got a while, but not as long as it sounds, to wait to see how it turns out but we’ll keep you up to date as things develop.