Actors don’t get much tougher or better than Charlton Heston. The man was granite, cut from sacred stone, a cinematic icon that will forever be associated with the Biblical Hollywood epic (read about Charlton Heston’s career). Heston’s trademark role was possiby Ben-Hur, William Wyler’s splendid historical epic based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Director Timur Bekmambetov is now remaking it (or readapting the novel – Wyler’s version was a remake of a silent movie) and Jack Huston is taking on the Heston role.
Now, Huston is part of an acting dynasty (John Huston is his grandfather and Angelica is his aunt), but the man is no chariot-riding Jewish prince. He’s got that baby-faced metrosexual look going on; he looks like the type of guy who wears shoes without socks in winter. He doesn’t have the lean and hungry visage that you associate with a time when hardship was breakfast and facing death and turmoil was sundown.
Bekmambetov selected Huston after he screen tested for the part of Masala, Ben Hur’s friend and betrayer. Bekmambetov is a nice guy (I’ve met him) but a terrible director. This is a bad decision. To make things even more ‘obvious’, Bekmambetov’s Wanted star Morgan Freeman is starring in a ‘mentor’ role. That’s not a stretch for Freeman as he’s pretty much been playing that part since Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (that’s 1991 if you’re counting).
You know that Ben-Hur 3.0 isn’t going to be good, but I guess it’s about time that iconic chariot race got replaced by over-editing and some poorly rendered CGI. In the 21st Century, real just isn’t real enough for the video game loving kids. Wild horses couldn’t drag me to see this pending cinematic atrocity.
Ben-Hur opens in 2016.