If a deal is finalized, Ayelet Zurer will play Naomi, the mother of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston). The story follows Judah as he is sold into slavery by his childhood friend Messalla (Toby Kebbell), which sends him on a journey of vengeance. Morgan Freeman is playing Ben-Hur's mentor, who teaches him the fine art of chariot racing, a skill which will come in handy during the remake's finale.
The story, which was originally written by Keith R. Clarke with rewrites by John Ridley, also follows the parallel tale of Jesus Christ, an aspect of the plot that was in Lew Wallace's original 1880 novel, but left out of the 1959 Ben-Hur adaptation starring Charlton Heston.
Mark Burnett is producing alongside Sean Daniel and Joni Levin, with Roma Downey (Son of God), Keith R. Clarke, John Ridley and Jason F. Brown executive producing. The producers still need to re-cast the female lead, which Gal Gadot was briefly in talks for before she had to pull out due to her Wonder Woman commitments.
Ayelet Zurer's big-screen credits include Angels & Demons, Ingenious, Man of Steel and the upcoming Last Days in the Desert alongside Ewan McGregor. She also stars in Marvel's Daredevil TV series, which debuts on Netflix next year.