Tom Hiddleston Grabbing Sword & Sandals for 'Ben-Hur' Remake?
After creating chaos in Asgard and on Earth in the Thor franchise and The Avengers, it sounds like British actor Tom Hiddleston might venture into more traditional epic territory. Deadline has word that MGM and Paramount Pictures are courting the man who made Loki one of the most revered villains of the past decade to take the lead role in their remake of the classic Ben-Hur, or rather, the new adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, directed by Timur Bekmambetov of Wanted. However, this isn't yet anywhere near being a done deal since he's considering other projects. More below!
One other project that Hiddleston has on his potential future plate is Me Before You, an adaptation of the Jojo Moyes best-selling novel that is also set up at MGM. That film focuses on a small-town girl caught between dead-end jobs, and Will (the role meant for Hiddleston), a success all his life who finds himself wheelchair-bound after an accident. He finds no reason to live until they meet when he hires her as his caretaker for six months, and she becomes determined to prove to him life is worth living as they set off on adventures together. With a script from the author herself, rewritten by (500) Days Of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, it's easy to see why that's appealing.
However, Ben-Hur has the potential to turn Hiddleston into a true leading man outside of the Marvel universe. The script comes from Keith Clarke who wrote it on spec with a story of Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, the son of a Roman tax collector, who grew up best friends before the Roman Empire rose to power and apparently it's more faithful to the book than the classic film as it also ties in with the 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. Both stories obviously have their own kind of appeal, but we'll have to wait and see what Hiddlseton decides to do.