Toby Kebbell Could Play ‘Ben-Hur’ Villain Opposite Jack Huston

By September 18, 2014

If you haven’t seen the 1959 film Ben-Hur, I’d highly recommend checking it out. It was the most expensive movie ever made at the time, and it won a record 11 Academy Awards. It’s a classic…so of course, Hollywood has decided it’s time to remake it. Last month, word came out that Tom Hiddleston may star in the remake (which is being directed by Wanted helmer Timur Bekmambetov), but those reports have been debunked: Deadline recently reported that “Boardwalk Empire” star Jack Huston would take the role of Ben-Hur made famous by Charlton Heston in the ’59 flick.

Now Variety reports that Toby Kebbell (pictured above) is in early talks to play Messala, the villain of the movie. For those who haven’t seen it, the story centers around a falsely accused nobleman (Huston) who endures years of slavery to get vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him (Kebbell). This new iteration will reportedly focus more on the source material, Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel. The ’59 film is famous for the chariot chase sequence (below), and it was recently announced that Morgan Freeman will play the man who teaches this new Ben-Hur how to become a badass chariot rider.

Kebbell is really coming into his own these days, delivering an amazing turn as the trigger-happy Koba in the fantastic Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, scoring the role of Doctor Doom in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, and snagging a major part in Duncan Jones’ Warcraft. Seems like he’s becoming pigeon-holed as a villain, but I’m sure he’s OK with that for now, considering it’s allowing him to act in much larger-scale movies and boost his star power in the process.

Interested in seeing a new interpretation of Ben-Hur?

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.