Toby Kebbell in talks to play Messala in Ben-Hur remake

CA.0322.wrath.of.the.titans.Variety reports that Toby Kebbell is in “early talks” to play Messala, the Roman officer who betrays the title character, a former friend of his, in the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur. The part was played by Francis X. Bushman in the 1925 film, Stephen Boyd in the 1959 film and Stephen Campbell Moore in the 2010 miniseries. Kebbell has played a number of bad guys lately, in films like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, and he has dipped his toe in the Greco-Roman genre via Wrath of the Titans and Oliver Stone’s Alexander. Kebbell joins Jack Huston, who is playing the part of Judah Ben-Hur himself, and Morgan Freeman, who will play the charioteer-training Ildarin.

Watch: Featurette on Exodus: Gods and Kings costumes

vlcsnap-2014-09-17-11h28m57s67The publicity team behind Exodus: Gods and Kings is handing out so many “exclusives” these days they’re beginning to lose track of them. Today, The Telegraph and JoBlo both posted a new featurette on the film’s ‘Costume Design’, and each website claimed it had an “exclusive” on the video. Oops.

The featurette doesn’t have any new movie footage, but it does go behind the scenes as costume designer Janty Yates (who won an Oscar for her work on Gladiator) describes how the costumes reflect the female influence in the palace, the change in Moses’ status from “leader of the Egyptian army” to “renegade”, and so on.

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Will there be “naturalistic interpretations” of the Red Sea parting and other miracles in Exodus: Gods and Kings?

exodus-redsea-horseThe Exodus: Gods and Kings set-visit reports keep on coming!

Earlier today, I linked to reports that were posted today by the European websites Bad Taste, Total Film and MTV UK. Now there’s one at Yahoo! Movies UK, and unlike the others, it actually says a few new things about the film itself.

Among other things, it tells us that the battle in the film’s first act will be not just any skirmish between the Egyptians and the Hittites; it will be the Battle of Kadesh, the largest chariot battle ever fought. This, it seems, will be another of the movie’s anachronisms, since the historical battle was fought in 1274 BC, five years after the death of the Pharaoh Seti, but in the film it is Seti (played by John Turturro) who sends the Egyptians into battle under the leadership of Ramses and Moses.

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Jack Huston to play title role in upcoming Ben-Hur remake

jackhustonLast month it was rumoured that Tom Hiddleston was being courted for the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur, but those rumours were scuttled today when it was announced that Hiddleston is going to star in the King Kong spin-off Skull Island instead. No matter, the makers of Ben-Hur have an announcement of their own to make: namely, they have cast Boardwalk Empire co-star Jack Huston in the title role made famous by Charlton Heston in the 1959 film.

Huston, as it happens, is the grandson of legendary filmmaker John Huston, who played both Noah and the voice of God in The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966), which he also directed. The younger Huston played Flavius in the 2004 TV-movie remake of Spartacus — it was based on the same Howard Fast novel that the 1960 Kirk Douglas film was based on — and he played Lord Alfred in Al Pacino’s Wilde Salomé (2011). So he’s had a bit of experience with movies set in the ancient Roman empire. Nothing quite on this scale, though.

Listen: Four tracks from Solomon-themed The Song

song2014-albumThe Identical, a music-driven, Nashville-lensed, “faith-based” film inspired by the life of Elvis Presley, didn’t do too well at the box office when it opened a couple weeks ago. But that isn’t stopping the makers of The Song, a music-driven, Nashville-lensed, “faith-based” film inspired by the life of King Solomon, from releasing their own film next week.

The film opens September 26, and the full soundtrack — featuring songs by Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris and others — comes out four days later. Among other things, the album will include a new version of ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’, a Pete Seeger song that was based on a Bible passage that has traditionally been ascribed to Solomon. This new version will be performed by Roger McGuinn — who, as lead singer of The Byrds, famously covered this song in 1965 — along with Harris and Skaggs.

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More horses, more costumes, and more pictures of director Ridley Scott directing in Exodus: Gods and Kings

exodus-badtaste-2Another day, another batch of new photos from the set of Exodus: Gods and Kings. And would it surprise you to learn that most of them consist of variations on themes that have already been covered by the other photos that have been released over the last few months? No, didn’t think so. So what we have are more pictures of Moses and Ramses riding chariots and sitting around in Egyptian palaces, a new photo of Maria Valverde modeling Zipporah’s wedding jewelry, and more pictures of director Ridley Scott pointing at things and talking to his actors. Check them all out below the jump.

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