Nazanin Boniadi Takes the Female Lead in Ben-Hur

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Nazanin2MGM and Paramount’s upcoming Ben-Hur remake has finally scored a female lead in Nazanin Boniadi, best known as CIA analyst Fara Sherazi on Showtime’s “Homeland.” According to Deadline, she will be playing Esther, the role which Gal Gadot coveted until her commitments to playing Wonder Woman took her out of the running.

The Iranian-British actress Boniadi joins a cast that already includes Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman, Olivia Cooke, Ayelet Zurer and Jack Huston in the title role. She beat out several other actresses seeking the part, including Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Natalia Warner (Learning to Breathe) and Boniadi’s The Next Three Days co-star Moran Atias.

Set for a release on February 26, 2016, the new take on Ben-Hur was originally scripted by Keith Clarke (The Way Back), with revisions by Academy Award-winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). It is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 epic novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ.”

The film is said to return to the heart of the epic novel with a focus on the nature of faith. The story follows a falsely-accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, Ben-Hur is produced by Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel and Joni Levin with Jason F. Brown, Keith Clarke, Roma Downey and John Ridley serving as executive producers.

(Photo Credit: WENN)