Just two weeks after entering talks to play the female lead in MGM and Paramount's Ben-Hur remake, actress Gal Gadot has backed out, citing scheduling conflicts with her Wonder Woman role on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Production on Ben-Hur isn't slated to begin until early next year, but the actress is also attached to star as Wonder Woman in her own stand-alone movie and Justice League Part 1. Both of those projects were confirmed to hit theaters in 2017, when Warner Bros. and DC Comics announced their massive superhero slate on the same day that the news of Gal Gadot's Ben-Hur casting broke.
MGM and Paramount would not comment on the actress dropping out, and it isn't known if there are other contenders for her role that are currently in the mix. If she would have stayed with the remake, Gal Gadot would have played Esther, a slave who falls for Ben-Hur, played by Jack Huston. Toby Kebbell plays Messalla, Ben-Hur's former best friend who sells him into slavery. Morgan Freeman is playing Ben-Hur's mentor, who teaches him how to become a champion chariot racer.
Timur Bekmambetov is directing the remake from a script by Keith R. Clarke, with John Ridley providing the most recent revisions. The story will follow the original 1880 novel by Lew Wallace more closely, which also includes the parallel tale of Jesus Christ.