Casting Call: Ben-Hur

Published September 20, 2013

In which we suggest who would star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

Everyone knows that you don’t mess with a good thing…  unless you are MGM, in which case you decide to remake the wildly successful, multi-award winning classic Ben-Hur (1959). The film won 11 Academy Awards—a record at the time —including Best Picture and Best Actor for a very handsome, pre-NRA Charlton Heston. It is generally acknowledged as one of the great epics, and not in the flippant way kids today use “epic,” but really, truly epic. Jesus is a character. Good luck casting Jesus, MGM.

Ben-Hur is set in Jerusalem, a common site for epic talesThe Bible, for instance. The year is 26 A.D., and our hero, Judah Ben-Hur is a wealthy prince and prominent figure in his community. His pal Massala, a Roman, is preoccupied with advancing the glory of the Roman Empire and not very fond of the Jewish people, which is awkward because his friend Ben-Hur just so happens to be Jewish. Massala finds a shady reason to condemn Ben-Hur to the galleys—that’s a biblical word for ship—and our wronged hero vows to take revenge. Years later, Ben-Hur gets his chance the only way biblical characters know how: in a chariot race. Because casting Jesus is tricky, here is who we think ought to fill these epic shoes—or sandals, rather.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.