There are few other classic films of the Hollywood studio system to be so continually cited and referenced as director William Wyler's 1959 feature Ben-Hur, which won three Golden Globes and eleven Oscars (including Best Director and Best Picture) at the time of its release. The original film has since gone on to be included for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2004 for being a "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" achievement in motion pictures.
Building upon such a remarkable pedigree, director Timur Bekambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and screenwriters Keith R. Clarke (The Way Back) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) hope to provide an all-new interpretation of the original novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ of 1880 by Lew Wallace for twenty-first century audiences. Whether or not viewers will be eager to line up at the theater to see actor Jack Huston (Hail, Caesar!) in the lead role of Judah Ben-Hur is up for debate, but the latest trailer should help them decide.
The footage featured above promises a stirring rendition of Wallace's classic novel, featuring supporting turns from noted performers like Toby Kebbell (Warcraft) as Huston's traitorous brother Masala, Morgan Freeman (Now You See Me 2) as the wise elder Sheik Ilderim, and Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland) as the Jewish slave and chief love-interest Esther. Plus, be sure to check out an exclusive sneak peek at Bekambetov's thrilling recreation of the iconic chariot race sequence below.
Everything certainly seems to be coming together in the production of the all-new Ben-Hur, with the latest trailer coming replete with a diverse and eclectic cast of lead stars and performers. It remains to be seen just how large a crowd the rather storied property will draw when the film finally sees theatrical release later this summer, though by the looks of things Huston and Kebbell have a firm handle on the material at hand.
With any luck Bekambetov and company have produced an entertaining update of Ben-Hur that can introduce a new generation to Wallace's timeless tale of political intrigue and spiritual salvation. Come this August, viewers around the world can decide for themselves whether or not the newest take of the story is an instant classic, or another example of adapting an old favorite one time too many.
Ben-Hur will see theatrical release in the U.S. on August 19, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures