Around 57 years ago, a little movie called “Ben-Hur” shattered the Oscar record, by winning 11 in one night. And now, the classic film is being remade for a new generation. The stars were in Miami today and told Chris why now is the right time for a new “Ben-Hur.”
It’s a classic story… a prince named Judah Ben-Hur is falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother and is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Ben-Hur finally returns to get revenge, but an encounter with Jesus changes everything.
This is the fourth time “Ben-Hur” was made into a movie, including two silent films and the 1959 version with Charlton Heston. Ben-Hur is played here by English actor Jack Huston.
Chris Van Vliet: “There are a lot of people out there that will say, ‘This is a classic movie.’ ‘It won 11 Oscars.’ ‘This doesn’t need to be remade.’ What do you say to them?”
Jack Huston: “For us, making this wasn’t a remake. It was a reimagining of a wonderful story, and we wouldn’t have tackled this movie if we didn’t feel like there was a reason to make this movie. It’s a very different movie. It’s for a modern audience.”
Jesus was a powerful part of the 1959 film, even though we never see his face and he never speaks, that is not the case here.
Rodrigo Santoro told Chris it was the most challenging role he’s ever taken on.
Rodrigo Santoro: “What is the correct way to do it? I just went everywhere, but then to go back to the most essential thing, which is within yourself and just try to find the essence of what I thought that was, which was his heart, his love.”
“Ben-Hur” is known for the epic chariot race that took over five weeks to film with real horses and 7,000 background actors. To recreate the scene in 2016, they used a lot of the same techniques.
Jack Huston: “They didn’t use special effects, so we took a little tip from that and said, ‘Let’s not use any special effects.’ So we built up the stadium, but everything within the circus, all that chariot stuff, there was not one green screen.”
“Ben-Hur” is in theaters Aug. 19.
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