EXCLUSIVE: Skins and Gossip Girl actress Sofia Black-D’Elia has been cast opposite Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, and Toby Kebbell in Ben-Hur, which Timur Bekmambetov is directing for MGM and Paramount Pictures.
The historical epic chronicles the blood feud between Judah Ben-Hur (Huston) and Messala that erupts when Messala (Kebbell) condemns his childhood friend to slavery and certain death aboard a Roman warship.
Black-D’Elia will take the role of Tirzah, Judah’s sister who becomes quietly political when the Roman Empire takes control of Jerusalem. She is imprisoned alongside her mother and both contract leprosy before Judah returns home to free his family and avenge them all.
Produced by The Bible’s Mark Burnett, Keith Clarke, Jason Brown and Sean Daniel for The Sean Daniel Company, and Joni Levin for Point Blank Productions, the remake will hew more closely to the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ than the 1959 Charlton Heston classic. Burnett’s Bible collaborator Roma Downey is executive producing for their MGM-based LightWorkers Media.
Black-D’Elia landed the role after completing another film for Paramount, the upcoming Michael Bay-produced time travel sci-fi pic Project Almanac (Jan. 30). Earlier this year she was cast in the Blumhouse, IM Global, and Dimension outbreak thriller Viral opposite Analeigh Tipton. The 23-year-old thesp also stars in the upcoming CW series The Messengers, set to premiere April 10.
Black-D’Elia is repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management.