Sunday, 30 November 2014

Olivia Cooke in talks for Ben-Hur

The casting information about the new take on the Ben-Hur story is coming in quicker than a speeding chariot. With director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) looking to set his cast ready for shooting to gear up, news arrive via The Wrap that Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) is currently circling the role of Tirzah, Ben-Hur's sister.

Taken once again from Lew Wallace's 1880 novel, the new version aims to chronicle the younger days of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) and Messala (Toby Kebbell), best friends growing up in Jerusalem. 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, Messala mocks our hero for his religion and, after an accident he pins on his friend, has him sold into slavery. Cue a quest for revenge that is set to include the iconic chariot race.

Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises) is already aboard to play Ildarin, the man who teaches Ben-Hur how to be a master at the reins for the races. Ayelet Zurer (Man Of Steel), meanwhile, will be back on Hero's Mother duty, playing Naomi, Ben-Hur's mum, while Pedro Pascal (The Adjustment Bureau) is also down to play a part. Keith Clarke (The Way Back) wrote the original script, which John Ridley (12 Years A Slave) has since re-written.

Cooke, who has also been seen in The Quiet Ones and The Signal, is part of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's (American Horror Story) Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, which has yet to secure a UK release.

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