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MGM Sets Up New Ben Hur
Back to the chariots!

15 January 2013  |  Written by James White  |  Source: Deadline

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There was a time when it looked like MGM would have to sell off everything and stop producing films. Now, with cash flowing in from Skyfall and The Hobbit, the studio is once more hunting for properties like a child running round Hamleys. It now looks like the executives have their beady eye on a new version of Ben Hur.

Though Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ was adapted – by MGM itself – into the iconic, Oscar-scoring 1959 classic starring Charlton Heston, the studio thinks the time has come for a new interpretation. By which we don't mean the little-seen 2010 miniseries. 

Though MGM sold the rights to the movie in the 1980s, the book has long since entered the public domain, so the way is clear for this second stab. The Way Back’s Keith Clarke has come up with a spec script that is apparently more faithful to the tome.

This time around, we’ll be treated to more of the younger days of Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, best friends growing up in Jerusalem before the Roman Empire takes over. Ben-Hur is a Jewish prince and Messala is the son of a Roman tax collector sent to be educated in Rome for five years. Upon his return, he mocks our hero for his religion, and, after an accident he pins on his friend, even finds a way for him to be sold into slavery. Cue a quest for revenge that culminates (at least in the Heston film) in the iconic chariot race.

The new film will bear more parallels with the life of Jesus Christ, who Ben-Hur will both meet and be inspired by during his life. “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,” producer Daniel tells Deadline of the novel. Well, Biblical stories are big right now…


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Your Comments

FLASHMAN
This tale of fallen grace, struggle, redemption, spectacle, religion and humanity needs an Oscar winning director with a proven track record in swords/sandals and has specific personal beliefs, and badly needs something to prove, (like, a hit)...............who in the world better than Mr Mel Gibson?????????????? More

Posted by Frank Comiskey at 10:45 on 18 January 2013 | Report This Post

RE: I wonder
L: chris wootton In this day and age if biblical movies will make any money. I just can't see a massive audience for these films any more. t's an interesting dynamic. You want it faithful enough that Christians will see it, and with enough difference and 'hook' so that anyone else will see it. Passion of the Christ did pretty well, managed to get both groups. More

Posted by sifter132 at 20:52 on 16 January 2013 | Report This Post

FLASHMAN
See how quickly this sinks if Noah tanks - all the same, providing that they have good script, and remember that General Wallace envisaged, 'A Tale of Christ', this is an interesting idea; have long thought that Michael Fassbender would make a wonderful Messala and CGI would do an extraordinary chariot scene; but, knowing that the race it is not being done for real (previously by Yannuk Canutt), would it be as thrilling?????????? More

Posted by Frank Comiskey at 17:38 on 15 January 2013 | Report This Post

I wonder
In this day and age if biblical movies will make any money. I just can't see a massive audience for these films any more. More

Posted by chris wootton at 10:31 on 15 January 2013 | Report This Post

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