This week shooting began on the Ben-Hur remake and the Dailymail.co.uk posted our first glimpse we get of Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur. I would like to take a few minutes and see if we can learn anything about the story from these photos. Keep in mind, I am only going from these photos and might be entirely wrong as to what scene is being filmed, but I do feel I have a pretty good grasp on it.
The above picture shows Jack Huston (Ben-Hur) and Nazanin Boniadi (Esther) sharing a romantic moment. This seems to mean that they will be introducing the romance of these two early on in the film (deduced from other photos that they are filming the scene that sets the rest of the movie into motion.) This is different from the novel but doesn’t bother me too much other than the fact that it seems that Iras has been either removed from the story (as in the 1959 version) or diminished (as in the 1925 version) Which is one place that I was hoping they would try to set themselves apart from the previous incarnations.
The inclusion of the white horse makes me question if the are changing the story of how Judah receives his chariot horses. If I am correct that they are filming the incident I think they are filming and if this is one of the same horses that he uses in the chariot race it brings into question a good portion of the story. However, this could also be just a white horse with no connection to the other horses… that is a possibility.
I have not heard who was cast as Simonides, and I don’t know if this is to be him, but if it is, this is perfect casting! As I read the novel this is exactly who was in my head as Simonides (Father of Ester)
This is our first glimpse at Ayelet Zurer (Ben-Hur’s mother) This too pleases me! She is greeting Esther, the daughter of the family’s long time faithful servant, Simonides.
Another loo at some of the costumes of the Jewish people in Ben-Hur’s life. Well done, I like them! Jack Huston is wearing a jacket (it is not part of the costume as this is between takes.)
A look at the Roman soldiers, also looking good! I am extremely interesting to see what this all looks like after the footage goes to color grading.
A romantic moment? An attempt to get Esther away from the chaos? I do not know, this scene doesn’t seem to fit with other things shot here, but none-the-less it is a nice scene and I have been preparing myself for changes to the story, my only demand is that the changes make the story good!
Here we see Jack Huston (Judah Ben-Hur) with who looks like Sofia Black-D’Elia (I could be wrong because I am horrible with faces!) If it is Sofia, IMDB.com has her listed as being in the film but does not have her character listed. If this indeed her then from this shot I would say she is playing Tirzah Ben-Hur (Judah’s sister) and if that is so, this is most certainly the incident on the roof that sets everything else into motion.
More shots from a rooftop that make me believe this is the incident I think it is.
The above is the photo that bothers me the most. Why? Because, it fits into the idea that this is the rooftop scene, but one major thing has changed and it is one change I did not want to see. The man on the horse without the helmet looks to be Pilou Asbaek, who is playing Pontius Pilate. If I am right with all my speculation this should not be Pilate rather it should be Valerius Gratus who is later replaced by Pilate. Gratus is a man consumed with a lust for power. In order to keep his power he begins to imprison people without finding any fault other that he is threatened by them. They get no trial, he even hides the fact he has these prisoners. This comes into play later in the story but Pilate is depicted as a man who is concerned with right justice and he begins to undo what Gratus has done. By mashing these two together you come up with a character who has no clear motive for one aspect of the story or the other. The miniseries made this change and it was a huge flaw to me. Along with all the many other flaws that the miniseries has.
With that said, I would like to reiterate that if the movie is good I am willing to forgive quit a few changes.