By Natalie Stone
Rodrigo Santoro, who plays Jesus Christ in the upcoming Ben Hur film, received a blessing from Pope Francis in Rome on Wednesday.
During a break from production in Italy, Santoro attended the Papal Audience with fellow Ben Hur actress Nazanin Boniadi and met Pope Francis.
The Holy Father, donned in white, blessed the actor, and Santoro and Boniadi captured a picture in front of the Vatican during their trip.
The film tells the story of Judah Ben Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, an officer in the Roman army. Ben Hur is forced into slavery and eventually returns home seeking revenge, but he finds redemption in his journey.
The film, based on Lew Wallace’s novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, is set for a Feb. 26, 2016 nationwide theater release and stars Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman, Ayelet Zurer, Sofia Black D'Elia, Santoro, and Boniadi. The new feature will be the third film version of Wallace’s tale, which was previously adapted to the big screen in 1925 and 1959.
Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel, Joni Levin and Duncan Henderson are producing the TimurBekmambetov-directed and Keith Clarke and John Ridley-written film. Executive producers are Roma Downey, Clarke, Ridley, and Jason Brown.