Morgan Freeman to star in Kazakh director's Ben-Hur04 february 2015, 02:57
Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov has begun to film an epic historical drama Ben-Hur, produced by Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Tengrinews reports citing the press release posted on the official website of Bekmambetov’s film company Bazelevs.
The role of Judah Ben-Hur in the new movie will be played by Jack Huston. Morgan Freeman will perform the role of Ilderim, while Rodrigo Santoro will take the role of Jesus Christ.
The plot of the new film is based on a classic of American literature - the novel by Lew Wallace "Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ," first published in 1880. The novel takes place in Palestine under Roman rule at the time of Jesus Christ. In the story, the young and wealthy Jew Judah Ben-Hur looses everything as he is betrayed by his best friend, ending up in slavery. On his journey Ben-Hur meets Jesus, an event which helps him find his path in life.
The story of Ben-Hur is very popular in the West and repeatedly inspired artists and directors with its perennial questions of faith and mission, revenge and forgiveness.
The most acclaimed work about Ben-Hur is William Wyler’s 1959 movie that received 11 Academy Awards.
Timur Bekmambetov shared that this new adaptation would be as close to the original penned by Wallace as possible. The filming will take place in Rome and around the town of Matera in southern Italy, where Hadrian's Villa, a unique Roman piece of architecture is located.
"It's hard to imagine a more suitable location for the filming of this movie than Italy in general and Matera in particular. It is a place very similar to ancient Jerusalem," the Kazakh director said.
Timur Bekmambetov is best known to the international audience for his smash hit Wanted (2008). His other notable works include Night Watch (2004) and its sequel Day Watch (2006), as well as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012).
Bekmambetov was born on 25 June 1961, in the city of Guryev, presently Atyrau in Western Kazakhstan, to a Kazakh father and Ashkenazi Jewish mother. For a brief period of time he attended Moscow Energy Institute but dropped out to pursue a career in arts.
He moved to Tashkent, Uzbek SSR to study at the Alexander Ostrovsky Theatrical and Artistic Institute and graduated in 1987 with a degree in theater and cinema set design. During this period Bekmambetov served in the Soviet Army, an experience which inspired him to write Peshawar Waltz about the events of Afghan War, which was to become his first movie.
By Dinara Urazova