From the director of ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,’ comes an all-new ‘Ben-Hur!’ No, for reals.

The chariots are off and running as Paramount and MGM announced today that production on their remake of William Wyler’s classic swords-and-sandals epic ‘Ben-Hur’ is officially underway in Italy. Timur Bekmambetov is directing the film from a script by Keith Clarke and ‘12 Years a Slave’ screenwriter John Ridley, based on the novel by Lew Wallace. The cast includes Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur (the role originally played by Charlton Heston in Wyler’s original), Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, and Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus Christ. The cinematographer is Oliver Wood, who shot the ‘Bourne’ films, so I guess you should expect some very shaky chariot races where Ben-Hurt occasionally fights people with pens or rolled magazines or whatnot.

Per the press release, this new ‘Ben-Hur’:

...returns to the heart of Lew Wallace’s epic novel focusing on the nature of faith. The story follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.

So, wait, Ben-Hur’s not a vampire hunter in this one? I would have gone a different way, but I guess everyone has different ideas about this sort of thing. The new more religious (less vampiric) ‘Ben-Hur’ will open in theaters on February 26, 2016.

More From ScreenCrush