"Ben-Hur," one of the most popular biblical movies ever produced, is going to be remade by MGM studios, with sources saying the focus of the storyline will feature more heavily on Jesus Christ.
The 1959 movie, based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, won 11 Oscars and is considered one of the most successful Christian movies ever made. The story focuses on the Jewish prince Ben-Hur who is forced to live for many years as a Roman slave, before he rises to power and meets Christ, witnessing a number of miracles along the way. The planned remake will reportedly be more faithful to Wallace's novel and focus more on Jesus' life, while at the same time interjecting Ben-Hur's account.
Deadline reported that MGM has emerged from bankruptcy following the massive success of the 2012 James Bond movie "Skyfall" and the "Lord of the Rings" prequel "The Hobbit," both of which have made around $1 billion worldwide in terms of box office success. This has provided the incentive for MGM to buy the "Ben-Hur" script from screenwriter Keith Clarke, who wrote Peter Weir's "The Way Back," and start raising money for the new project.
Sean Daniel and Joni Levin have been chosen as the producers for the remake. Levin has been behind a number of big-name Hollywood projects, including the "Mummy" franchise.
"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 has said of Wallace's novel.
No release date has yet been set for the project, and producers will only now begin to look at casting choices, but a new film would actually be MGM's third presentation of the "Ben-Hur" story. In 1925, the production studio also released the lesser known silent movie "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ," sharing the same name as the book.
Movie fans are preparing for a number of major biblical movies that will be hitting the big screen in the next few years, with Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" starring Russel Crowe, "Pontius Pilate" starring Brad Pitt, and no less than two movies about Moses, directed by Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott respectively, all in the works.