Tom Hiddleston is notching up a heaving collection of film roles, with Crimson Peak already in the bag and High-Rise currently filming, before he warms up his vocal chords to play Hank Williams in I Saw the Light.
But, if rumour is to be believed, the British actor is being eyed for a starring role in a new MGM and Paramount remake of Ben-Hur. If his casting were to go ahead, Hiddleston would be stepping into Charlton Heston’s shoes to play the title role made famous by the Hollywood star in the 1959 classic which won eleven Academy Awards.
While Hiddleston is yet to sign on the dotted line, his credentials make him a great fit for the role; the 33-year-old earned his stripes as a classical actor on stage and screen before finding global fame as Loki in Thor and The Avengers.
Set in the 1st Century AD, Ben-Hur tells the tale of Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur and his feud with Messala, his childhood best friend before the Roman Empire took control of Jerusalem. After Messala has him falsely convicted for attempting to murder the Roman governor, Judah returns to exact revenge, climaxing in the famous chariot scene made famous in the 1959 film. The new version is expected to give more attention to a parallel storyline about Jesus Christ that features in the original 1880 novel by Lew Wallace.
With a 26th February 2016 release date already set, Ben-Hur has 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley penning the script with The Bible’s Mark Burnett and Roma Downey producing. If Hiddleston takes the role it will make him the fifth actor to portray Ben-Hur, after Herman Rottger (1907), Ramon Novarro (1925), Heston (1959) and Joseph Morgan (2010).