Ben-Hur remake casts Rodrigo Santoro in role of Jesus

MGM and Paramount are remaking the 1959 Charlton Heston classic Ben-Hur

Rodrigo Santoro, the "300: Rise of an Empire" actor, is under negotiation to play the role of Jesus in a Ben-Hur remake.

Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel and Joni Levin will produce the film under MGM and Paramount Studios. The film is targeted to release on February 26, 2016.

Timur Bekmambetov based his directing from an original screenplay written by Keith Clarke. Writer John Ridley, who is also the executive producer of the film together with Clarke and Jason F Brown, will make revisions for the film.

According to Variety, the project started in 2013 when Clarke's script was acquired by MGM. The script is an adaptation from an 1880 novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" by Lew Wallace.

The story focuses on the characters Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince in Jerusalem and his childhood friend Messala. Messala became a commanding officer of the Romans, who betrayed the Ben-Hur family, reports Variety.

The adaptation will show story lines prior to the 1959 movie, which was directed by William Wyler and produced by Sam Zimbalist. The 1959 movie starred Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins and Hugh Griffith. It won 11 Oscars and garnered the prestigious 'best picture' award.

A similar version in a 1925 movie, which starred Ramon Novarro and Francis Bushman, was also a blockbuster.

The latest remake will star Jack Huston as Ben-Hur, and Toby Kebbell as Messala.

Rodrigo Santoro currently stars in the movie 'Focus' with co-stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie. ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment represent him, according to Variety.