Taken once again from Lew Wallace's 1880 novel, the new version will chronicle more of the younger days of Judah Ben-Hur and Messala (Toby Kebbell), best friends growing up in Jerusalem before the Roman Empire takes over. Ben-Hur is a Jewish prince and Messala the son of a Roman tax collector who is packed off to be educated in Rome for five years. Upon his return, he mocks our hero for his religion, and, after an accident he pins on his friend, finds a way to have him sold into slavery. Cue a quest for revenge that culminates (at least in the 1959 Charlton Heston film) in the iconic chariot race.
Freeman's character, Ildarin, will be the man to teach our hero about the fine art of chariot racing, moulding him to become a master at the reins.
Bekmambetov is set to direct, working from a script that has seen writing by Keith Clarke (The Way Back), and, more recently, 12 Years A Slave's (2013) John Ridley. The film is currently scheduled to arrive in the UK on 19 February 2016.
Freeman recently joined Seth MacFarlane's comedy sequel Ted 2 and will next on screen in Dolphin Tale 2, hitting the UK on 3 October.