In the clip, Jack Huston’s heroic Ben-Hur faces off against his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbel) — who betrayed him and cast him into slavery — in a brutal Roman chariot race.
Few sequences in cinema history are as well-known, respected and thrilling as the chariot race in William Wyler’s 1959 epic Ben-Hur, which at the time of its release was the most expensive movie ever produced by Hollywood. Now, 57 years after that classic’s debut, its story — itself a remake of a 1925 silent film, based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 book — will again hit the screen courtesy of Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director Timur Bekmambetov. We have an exclusive look at its own horse-drawn centerpiece above.
In the clip, Jack Huston’s heroic Ben-Hur faces off against his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbel) — who betrayed him and cast him into slavery — in a brutal Roman chariot race. It’s the signature moment of all Ben-Hur versions, and here, director Bekmambetov has put an emphasis on practical stunt work for the scene. “It’s scary,” he said in a previously-released featurette. “There’s no brakes, there’s no air bags. It’s like today’s NASCAR.” That’s in keeping with its predecessor, which featured stars Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd actually doing most of their own chariot-driving, and which over the decades has been the subject of rumors about injuries and fatalities during the shooting of their showdown. (In fact, the only person hurt during Wyler’s legendary race was Heston’s stunt double, who needed four chin stitches after a dangerous accident.)
Co-starring Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro, the new Ben-Hur roars into theaters on Aug. 19.