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Ben-Hur (2016) Poster

(2016)

Trivia

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The lead role was offered to Tom Hiddleston but he chose to do Kong: Skull Island (2017) instead.
Director Timur Bekmambetov insisted that the chariot circus be built for real, and be realized with as little computer-generated imagery as possible. He felt it was absolutely necessary to make the chariot race look and feel realistic.
Gal Gadot was originally cast as Esther but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
This version of the story is one hour and 27 minutes shorter than the previous cinematic version, Ben-Hur (1959).
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Director Timur Bekmambetov explained the film's adaptation in a interview with Collider: "When we say "original Ben-Hur," we have to be very concrete about which original version we are talking about. There were two big screen versions made, in 1925 and 1959. These are the two most famous ones. There was also a Broadway stage version at the beginning of the [20th] century. There have been a lot of television versions. The Ben-Hur story reminds me of "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," and any story written by Chekhov. It is timeless, so every new generation wants to go back to it in order to adapt it for the new world. The screen version made in 1959 runs for four hours, and there is only a small number of people who can actually stay through the whole movie. It is about people different from us. And it's normal, because people used to be different. The audience was different, too, as well as the cinema language the film was made in. The 1959 movie was about revenge, not about forgiveness. For me that was the main problem, as I think that the novel is mainly about forgiveness, about the fact that a human being learned how to forgive. I got so excited about the project when I read John Ridley's script. I understood that John's vision of the story has so much light to it, and that he shares the same thoughts about a certain morals as I do. We talked with him about our modern world, which actually reminds me very much of a huge Roman Empire. In the Roman Empire, the most important important values were pride, rivalry, power, strength, the dictatorship of power and self-love. This kind of world does not have any prospects today. Humanity has to learn how to love and forgive. This would be our only solution."
In 1977, Charlton Heston, while being interviewed to promote " Gray Lady Down ", stated that he would be happy to star in a remake of " Ben-hur ", but only if he got to die in the end!
The film was originally set on for release on February 26, 2016, but in October 2015, it was pushed back to August 12, 2016.
Morgan Freeman does some narrating in the beginning and end of the film. He recorded a majority of this from Clarksdale, Mississippi.
The role of Pontius Pilate is played by Pilou Asbæk. The role was originally given to Pedro Pascal before Asbæk was cast. Both of these actors have been in Game of Thrones (2011), Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy in season 6, and Pascal as Prince Oberyn of Dorne, in season 4.
Sofia Boutella, Moran Atias and Natalia Warner were considered for the role of Esther before Nazanin Boniadi was cast.
Morgan Freeman's first film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer since "Moll Flanders" in 1996.
Olivia Cooke was originally offered role of Tirzah, Ben-Hur's sister but Sofia Black-D'Elia was cast in the film.
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William Wyler, director of the 1959 film, was good friends with John Huston, grandfather of Jack Huston - star of Ben Hur (2016)
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Ayelet zurer and Morgan Freeman previously appeared together in the 2015 film last knights
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Pilou Asbæk (Pontius Pilate) and James Cosmo (Quintus) have both starred in Game of Thrones (2011). Pilou Asbæk portrayed Euron Greyjoy and James Cosmo portrayed Jeor Mormont.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The scene of Rodrigo Santoro (Jesus) interacting with the main character was edited out in the version released for the Middle East and other Muslim countries.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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