MGM Puts A Ben-Hur Remake Into Development

Source: Deadline Ben-Hur - Theatrical Poster - Courtesy of MGM

Deadline is reporting that MGM is planning a new adaptation of Lew Wallace‘s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.”  Wallace’s text has been previously adapted for stage, screen and radio with William Wyler‘s 1959 Ben-Hur the most well-known version today.

Deadline suggests that plans for the new version, to be based on a spec script by Keith Clarke, will follow Wallace’s original novel and the life of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince sold into slavery who then vows revenge against the man responsible.  Set in the early years of the first century, Ben-Hur’s struggles parallel those of Jesus Christ.  “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,” Sean Daniel said of the Wallace novel.

The 1959 version was released in November of that year and grossed over $146 million at the box office in its initial release.  The film was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning 11, including Best Picture, Best Director (Wyler), and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).

No director is currently attached to the planned remake, but Daniel and Joni Levin will produce with Clarke and Jason Brown executive producing.

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