Another key character has been cast in MGM’s upcoming Ben-Hur remake. Danish actor Pilou Asbæk, who had a small role in Lucy and previously stunned in the barely-seen Danish film A Hijacking (one of my top films of 2013), has joined the production in the role of Judean emperor Pontius Pilate.
Asbæk beat out Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal for the part in the Timur Bekmambetov-directed remake, about the titular Jewish prince (Jack Huston) who is forced into slavery by his villainous former friend Messala (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes‘ Toby Kebbell). Bowed but not broken, Judah Ben-Hur vows to return for revenge.
Nazanin Boniadi, Sofia Black-D’Elia and Morgan Freeman are also in the cast, playing Ben-Hur’s mother Miriam, sister Tirzah and the Sheik Ilderim, respectively. In smaller roles, Rodrigo Santoro will play Jesus, Ayelet Zurer will portray Naomi and Moises Arias will play Gestas, a teenage Jewish zealot whose family has been murdered by the Romans, who is desperate to fight for his people’s freedom.
Ben-Hur will reimagine the iconic chariot race from the 1959 epic using cutting-edge visual effects. Keith Clarke and John Ridley penned the latest iteration of the script, working from Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ as well as from the original film.
Production on Ben-Hur is expected to kick off early next year in Europe in advance of a February 2016 release.