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MGM Fires Up Remake of Charlton Heston Oscar Classic 'Ben-Hur'

by
January 14, 2013
Source: Deadline

Ben-Hur

Another day, another remake. What better way to restore a studio's former glory than drag revive beloved classic 11-time Oscar winner Ben-Hur, from 1959, directed by William Wyler starring Charlton Heston. Deadline is now reporting that MGM is "planning to unleash" a new version of Ben-Hur, which I suppose isn't exactly a remake since they're going back to the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, written by Lew Wallace, to adapt this brand new take. While there are producers and a writer on-board with a spec script, no director is attached yet and it's all just part of a purchase MGM has made of the project. Read on!

The 1959 Ben-Hur, which went on to win 11 Oscars, is already a remake of the 1925 silent film of the same name, also based on Lew Wallace's book. It was shot for a budget of $15 million and is an epic historical film set in ancient Rome starring Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy prince from Jerusalem sent into slavery, who regains his freedom and comes back for revenge against his Roman friend. Deadline confirms that "this film will tell the formative story of the characters as they grew up best friends before the Roman Empire" and it's more faithful to the book. They also add "another way the script differs from the movie, in that it will tell the parallel tale of Jesus Christ, with whom Ben-Hur has several encounters which moves him to become a believer in the Messiah, and which culminates in Christ being sentenced to death."

The (spec) screenplay for this new 2013 (or maybe 2015, 2016?) Ben-Hur was written by Keith R. Clarke (In Search of Dr. Seuss, The Way Back). The project also includes Sean Daniel and Joni Levin as producers, with Jason Brown executive producing. "It's one of the great stories of friendship and betrayal, and faith, that works in the context of a big onscreen action thriller for a global audience," Daniel said of the story. Indeed, but can they top the previous films, or do they even need to. Why not Ben-Hur in space? Kidding, kidding. I'm curious to see how this develops and what it becomes, but it better be damn good. Thoughts?

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  • David Diaz
    The Charlton Heston Ben Hur is one of my favorite films. I'm glad they aren't basing this new one on the film and I'm glad to see they plan to keep or expand on the story of he and Masala as well as the story of Jesus within it. This has got to be better than that horrible version they made for tv a couple of years ago.
  • Richie G
    They should do what the Cohens did with True Grit and just make it the same, but more realistic. It's very early in the morning here
  • http://www.skonmovies.com/ Sean Kelly
    WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?
  • RidgeRacer4
    Have a sneaking feeling that in this very "walking on eggshells" PC era the whole Jesus angle may be entirely omitted. Either that or they'll do something stooopid like set it in the future:P
  • Lando
    the Heston Ben Hur is still a great movie! I can see "Basing it off the book" but thats hardly ever the case, they will focus on the remade chariot scenes and more realistic depictions of ocean battles etc.. I'll see it, but its not a movie that really needs remaking, its still damn good!
  • Rosalee Adams
    So when can we expect a remake of Gone With The Wind? Need a real whinny Scarlett and an equally boring Melanie and let's not forget whimpy Ashley..........
  • Hattori Hanzo
    Fu*king money hungry retards!
  • castingcouch
    The Chuck Heston version was already a remake. But, granted, that remake has been the definitive one for the past 50 years.
  • David Banner
    Stoopid idea is stoopid
  • http://computerstories.net/ Rowan Gonzalez
    This would be a interesting title to follow, hope they will be able to make something worthy out of it.
  • Steve
    This is why I started the "Boycott All Movie Remake" page on Facebook. Help me stop the insanity... https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-All-Movie-Remakes/223408351042838?notif_t=page_user_activity
  • Joseph
    I dont mind a remake...but stay with the version the people are most familiar with, and that is the version with Charlton Heston, re make that one, embellish a decent amount of the two best friends early life but don't drag it on too long , and then stick with Charlton Heston version, just make it more realistic more up to date, and for heaven's sake or even Pete's sake,you must and I say again you must take your time on the cast or it will absolutely ruine the movie,you can put some familiar faces through out the movie, but Judah's part must be a really great unknown...I'll be definitely going to see it when it comes out

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