He may not be as Hollywood famous as his aunt, actress Anjelica, or his grandfather, actor-director John, but that’s about to change for the star of the new Ben-Hur, opening Aug. 19. Huston, 33, will embark on a sweeping, epic adventure in the updated big-screen saga of a Jewish nobleman whose life takes several dramatic turns, including a life-ordeath chariot race and an encounter with Jesus of Nazareth.
What’s fresh about the new Ben-Hur? There’s this wonderful message of being able to let go, move on, take a step forward, forgive and be merciful. I don’t like to watch stodgy, sodden, sandal movies; I feel like a modern audience has to be able to relate. Judah Ben-Hur is going through a crisis in his life. He doesn’t believe in God, per se. He questions his faith, he questions his life. There’s something very relatable to it.
Charlton Heston, who played the role in 1959, left some really big footprints. This is very much my own interpretation. I loved that version, but when I read this one, it didn’t feel like we were stepping on the sandals of predecessors.
Were you an experienced horseman before this movie? I’ve ridden all my life, but nothing prepares you for chariots. Every time you see us with the horses, it’s us with the horses. No animals got hurt. The only time we would implement any CGI [effects] was for something that couldn’t be done.
What movies make Huston nostalgic? Go to Parade.com/huston to find out.