Hail, Roman! You look weary, having traveled the many foothills of this great Empire with nothing more than a kind cup of wine and the company of the occasional courtesan for comfort. The libations that your countrymen at ScreenCrush offer today, however, are of a less material sort. We’ve consulted the Oracle at USA Today, who in turn delivered unto us a vision of a gritty, color-desaturated, white-knuckle future. With eyes possessing of all Minerva’s foresight, the Oracle gazed into the distant world of this August, when the great forgotten hero Ben-Hur shall take up the reins of his chariot once more. And yea, the portents foreseen by USA Today herald a future bearing a suspiciously striking similarity to the recent rash of reheated Greek epics.

That was exhausting. Okay: so USA Today has the first two images from the upcoming Ben-Hur remake from Timur Bekmambetov, with Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston (of the acting Huston dynasty, including Anjelica and John) in the lead as the eponymous chariot racer, set for a release on August 12 of this year. The wide-scale 1959 epic wowed audiences with its kinetic feats of cinematic daring, transporting viewers to a swords-and-sandals world of action, passion, and nobility. In a move reminiscent of the Coen brothers’ espoused stance that their True Grit film would hew closer to the original novel by Charles Portis instead of the John Wayne-led film, Bekmambetov has made it clear that his Ben-Hur will take its cues from Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel instead of the Charlton Heston picture of yore.

The two photos embedded below show a typically washed-out visual aesthetic in which Huston will take on roaring races and receive advice from Hollywood’s favorite wise old man, Morgan Freeman. Bekmambetov’s recent track record isn’t especially heartening — remember back when there was an Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie? — but hey, even if this movie doesn’t turn out so hot, it’ll look better than Gods of Egypt.


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