Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur has been filmed five times, most notably as a Charlton Heston epic in 1959. And now there's a new movie based on the Ancient Roman story of Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his brother and exiled into slavery, where he has to decide whether to forgive his brother or get revenge against him.

Jack HustonJack Huston stars in 'Ben-Hur'


The new version of this story stars Jack Huston, the fourth generation in an acting dynasty. His great-grandfather Walter Huston, grandfather John and aunt Anjelica all won Oscars.

Jack wasn't too nervous taking on such a Hollywood classic. "I love the '59 version," he says. "Charlton was such a man's man in his movie, and it was a revenge story. When I read this re-imagining of the great story, I realised that it was very much a different way of telling it. Judah in my version is almost like a lost boy in the beginning. And it's his journey into manhood and finally that wonderful ending of forgiveness and redemption, which I think is a beautiful message to be out there, especially in today's world."

Watch the trailer for 'Ben-Hur' here:


Since the plot builds to an epic chariot race, making the film required Huston to train for the action. "Getting through this film was a hurdle," he laughs. "I mean, surviving the chariot race was a hurdle! It was brutal to be doing this, but it was perseverance, a lot of hard work, amazing support."

Huston says that having some experience with horses helped. "We wanted to do everything for real," he says. "But you go around that track with sometimes 32 horses at a time at full gallop, 40 miles an hour, sand kicking up in your face, you can barely see and you're weaving in and out, drifting around corners - it's one of the most scary yet exhilarating, brilliant, sort of meditative things you'll ever do. And it was months of it, so it was pretty intense!"

An added bonus for him was filming at Cinecitta Studios in Rome, where John Huston made The Bible. "There were some people on our movie who worked with my grandfather actually," he says. "I mean, it's amazing, you can't walk about Cinecitta without feeling the history on every turn. You feel like you're walking where all these titans have walked before. I felt really honoured to be there and it was sort of like my granddad was there with me."