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EXCLUSIVE: Jack Huston on Shooting 'Ben-Hur' Chariot Race: 'If Something Goes Wrong, It Can Go Wrong Quick'

by Raphael Chestang 3:11 PM PDT, June 10, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Jack Huston on Shooting 'Ben-Hur' Chariot Race: 'If Something Goes Wrong, It Can Go Wrong Quick'

The 2016 re-imagining of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur is taking the epic story to another level, and ET went behind the scenes for an exclusive look.

Based on Lew Wallace's timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, Ben-Hur follows the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) and forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

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One of the most memorable scenes in the original was the heart-pounding chariot race, which Huston told ET is not for the faint of heart.

"It's sort of like when people say respect the sea," Huston said. "If something goes wrong, it can go wrong quick and you have to be very aware of it."

With up to 32 horses racing at 40 miles per hour, Huston had to take things very seriously when he shot the updated version of the action sequence.

Huston explained what it was like being in the chariot, saying, "That thing has no suspension. Everything it hits -- you feel everything. The whole thing is shaking like crazy."

To capture the thunderous feel of the race, the film crew attached microphones to the horses to record the sound of pounding hooves, and GoPro cameras were buried in the sand.

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And while actors are used to getting the royal treatment on set, fans will be glad to know that the four-legged stars were also taken care of. There were 60 handlers for the 80 horses, and 12 horses were put in rotation for every four horse-drawn carriage, so the animals would have a chance to rest.

Ben-Hur, also starring Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro, opens August 19.

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