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Ben-Hur is an epic of biblical proportions, so naturally it has a cast of biblical figures to round out the cast. Among them is Jesus Christ himself, a role that has been played by actors far and wide with varying degrees of gravitas. It's not an easy role to take on, especially depending on the material's take on The Messiah. With the new remake moving along, the role has once again been filled, and this time it's with someone who's had some experience playing a God. Or, at least, a God King.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Rodrigo Santoro, best known as Xerxes in the 300 duology, has been tapped to play the Jesus Christ in Timur Bekambetov's remake of Ben Hur. Santoro joins the previously cast Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur himself, and Morgan Freeman as the man who trains him to achieve greatness in the chariot races.
Rodrigo Santoro is best known as an imposing figure of blood and conquest thanks to his work in both 300 and 300: Rise Of An Empire, but once upon a time, the world saw a kinder, gentler side of the man who would take the life of Leonidas. Back in 2003, Santoro starred opposite Laura Linney in, out of all films, Love Actually. That's right - the guy slow dancing in the image below...
...is the same guy that tried to conquer Sparta;
With Academy Award Winner John Ridley scripting the new epic, there's a good chance that Rodrigo Santoro could show the world another facet to his acting career. After all, if Richard Curtis could turn him into a cuddly object of affection, and if Zack Snyder could bring out the evil in him, then there's a good chance Ridley and Bekambetov could bring out a performance that'll help temper the otherwise action packed story of revenge against those who've wronged you.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo Santoro will be seen next in the Will Smith/Margo Robbie vehicle Focus. That film will open on February 27th. Ben Hur will be filming in Europe this winter and spring. It is slated for a February 26, 2016 release date, which currently leaves the film running unopposed.