Ben-Hur Is Getting A Remake

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-01-14 17:25:41discussion comments
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When MGM declared bankruptcy a few years ago there were two franchises in particular that were in mortal danger: James Bond and The Hobbit. With the studio in dire straits there was some legitimate concern that peter Jackson would never be able to venture back into Middle Earth and that Daniel Craig would never again suit up as 007. But 2012, of course, changed all that. After MGM was sold production started on both Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and both movies were some of the biggest hits of last year, both movies combined making nearly $2 billion worldwide. So it's only natural that MGM would start dreaming big, and they're doing so by remaking one of the biggest epics of all time.

According to Deadline, MGM is now developing a re-do of Ben-Hur, which was most famously done back in 1959 with director William Wyler and star Charleton Heston. The studio has purchased a spec script by Keith Clarke (Peter Weir's The Way Back), which goes back to the 1880 Lew Wallace novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, for the story instead of the most famous adaptation. MGM actually released the original, but since lost the rights. The book, however, is in the public domain, which means they don't have to pay to use it. The new version is said to be "much different" than Wyler's film, and tell the story of how Judah Ben-Hur and Messala grew up as friends and became separated when the Roman Empire invaded Jerusalem. The film will also tell the side story of Jesus Christ and will feature interactions between the characters.

While it's entirely possible the remake will end up being a solid or even great film, the original is such a classic that I don't really see the logic in this. The rental is hard to trump in this situation.
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