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The Timur Bekmambetov-directed new version will follow the book much closer than the Charlton Heston-led previous (and iconic) film adaptation in 1959. John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave") is penning the script and recently spoke with Coming Soon about the project and how it will differ from the William Wyler classic:
"It's going to be different in the sense that the original writer Keith Clarke wrote an amazing script and then went back to the Lew Wallace novel and really excavated the relationship between the two main characters, Ben-Hur and Messala.
It's interesting to a degree. It's kind of like going after Jimi Hendrix, because there are things about the 1959 movie that we think we remember, there are things that really happened, including obviously the chariot race, »
- Garth Franklin
In a deal that follows Roma Downey and Mark Burnett coming aboard the MGM/Paramount epic Ben-Hur that Timur Bekmambetov will direct with Jack Huston in the title role, MGM has acquired a 55% interest in Downey, Burnett and Hearst Entertainment’s One Three Media and LightWorkers Media, including all of their interests in such hit shows as Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, The Bible and The Apprentice. All this will be consolidated into a new media venture called United Artists Media Group. MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber made the deal with Burnett, Downey and Steven Swartz, Hearst Corp’s president and CEO. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Uamg will primarily focus on developing, producing and financing premium content across all platforms, including scripted and non-scripted television programs, motion pictures and digital content. Burnett will serve as the CEO of Uamg. Downey will serve as president of LightWorkers Media, the »
- Mike Fleming Jr and Anita Busch
The latest incarnation of the UA brand aims to produce TV shows, films and digital content for a wide range of global platforms. The partners also intend to launch an over the top channel aimed at the faith-based audience.
“I am extremely pleased to be partnering with Mark, Roma and (Hearst CEO) Steve (Swartz) in this incredible new venture that we believe will be accretive to MGM’s business,” said MGM chairman-ceo Gary Barber. “Mark and Roma are without a doubt the most successful and dominant players in unscripted television and faith-based content and we »
- Cynthia Littleton
• Channing Tatum will star in the inspirational true story Struck by Genius for Sony. Based on the memoir of the same name released in April, it follows the real life story of Jason Padgett, who became a math genius after a traumatic brain injury outside a karaoke bar. Tatum will play Padgett and the film is expected to follow him dealing with such issues as Ptsd and the chronic pain that followed before finding some salvation in art. [THR]
- Jake Perlman
The remake will reportedly be a closer adaptation of the original 1880 novel by Lew Wallace and centers on the betrayal of Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) by his childhood friend Messala, a betrayal that leads Ben-Hur being sold into slavery.
Source: Variety »
- Garth Franklin
A few casting stories have surfaced this afternoon. Briefly: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star Toby Kebbell is in early talks to take on the villain role in the Ben-Hur remake. The lovely Andie MacDowell will bring some femininity to the sequel Magic Mike Xxl. Anthony Mackie is in talks to join Sandra Bullock in the excellent-sounding political drama Our Brand Is Crisis. Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned casting. Just after casting Boardwalk Empire alum Jack Huston in the titular lead role, Variety reports that MGM and Paramount have entered talks with Toby Kebbell to play the villainous Messala in the Ben-Hur remake. Kebbell wowed audiences this summer as Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and most recently wrapped the antagonist role of Dr. Doom in The Fantastic Four. Timur Bekmambetov is onboard to direct Ben-Hur in anticipation of a February 26, 2016 release »
- Adam Chitwood
Having recently wrapped “Fantastic Four,” in which he plays the evil Doctor Doom, Toby Kebbell may have found another bad boy role.
Based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” the epic drama follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Kebbell will play that best friend, who was portrayed by Stephen Boyd in the 1959 classic.
The pic arrives in theaters Feb. 26, 2016.
“Ben-Hur” joins the long list of Hollywood’s recent interest in biblical stories that have »
- Justin Kroll
• Boardwalk Empire actor Jack Huston will take the chariot reins as the title role in the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur. Previously, Tom Hiddleston had been in talks for the role of slave Judah Ben-Hur in the Paramount and MGM picture. Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) is directing the film adapted by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and Keith Clarke (The Way Back) that is said to be based more on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ than the 1959 film that starred Charlton Heston. Morgan Freeman has already been cast as Ildarin, the teacher who helps make the slave Ben-Hur into chariot racer champion. »
- Jake Perlman
Jack Huston cast in ‘Ben-Hur’ remake? ‘Boardwalk Empire’ actor to follow in the footsteps of Ramon Novarro and Charlton Heston Jack Huston, best known for playing World War I veteran-turned-bootlegger-cum-assassin Richard Harrow in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, may star in the latest Ben-Hur "remake," to be jointly produced by Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I have "remake" between quotes because officially this fourth big-screen version of the semi-biblical epic (more on that below) isn’t an actual remake of either the multiple Oscar-winning 1959 Ben-Hur or its 1925 predecessor, but a direct adaptation of former Civil War general Lew Wallace’s 1880 bestselling novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which happens to be conveniently in the public domain. Timur Bekmambetov, whose credits include the Angelina Jolie-James McAvoy thriller Wanted and the supernatural cult classic Night Watch, has been attached as director of what is in fact A Tale of the Jewish Prince Judah Ben-Hur, »
- Andre Soares
The talent keeps growing for "Our Brand Is Crisis." Produced by George Clooney, set to be directed by David Gordon Green and starring Sandra Bullock, now Billy Bob Thornton and Scoot McNairy have joined the cast. Based on the documentary by Rachel Boynton, the story will follow " 'Calamity' Jane Bodine, a retired American political consultant who often quotes famous people to help hammer home her talking points." Peter Straughan ("The Men Who Stared At Goats") penned the script, and filming will begin this fall. [The Wrap/Variety] The "Ben-Hur" remake now has the first two dudes in the chariot: Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston. The Timur Bekmambetov-directed movie boasts a rewrite by "12 Years A Slave" screenwriter John Ridley. That said, it will attempt to have Huston (who we love) step into the role made famous by Charlton Heston, with Freeman as Ildarin who teaches him all his skills. So, yeah, this can't go wrong. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
MGM and Paramount Pictures have announced that Jack Huston (American Hustle, "Boardwalk Empire") will play the title role in the upcoming "Ben-Hur" remake, which already has Morgan Freeman on board as Ildarin, who teaches Ben-Hur how to race chariots. The new movie will once again be based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel that outsold every book (outside of the Bible) until it was eventually beaten by "Gone With the Wind." It's adapted for the big screen by Keith Clarke (The Way Back) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). "Ben-Hur" will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and is expected to begin filming in Europe next year. It's set to hit theaters on February 26th, 2016. »
After a stunning turn in Boardwalk Empire Jack Huston is pretty hot property. He was recently cast in Pride And Prejudice And Zombies and now he taking on the lead role in a true epic. Ben-hur is set to be remade by Wanted and Night Watch director Timur Bekmambetov, for MGM and Paramount Studios. Based on the classic novel ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ’, it follows a nobleman falsely accused of murdering a Roman soldier who endures years of slavery in order to return for his vengeance.
Originally starring Charlton Heston, the film is one of those rare occasions where a strong religious theme regarding faith doesn’t become too preachy nor encroach on a riveting story. The film set the bar for Academy Award wins with 11, a number that has only been equalled by Titantic and Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. Huston joins Morgan Freeman »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
The Wrap reports that the actor will play the titular character in Timur Bekmambetov's remake of the 1959 biblical movie.
The story of his redemption runs parallel to the life and crucifixion of Jesus, who is active in the region at the same time.
Charlton Heston played the lead role in the original 1959 film.
Ben-Hur is scheduled for release on February 26, 2016. »
Jack Huston is your new "Ben-Hur." The "Boardwalk Empire" star has been set to play the title role in MGM and Paramount's upcoming remake, according to Deadline. Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted") is set to direct the epic film, in which Morgan Freeman was previously cast as Ildarin, the man who trains Ben-Hur to become a champion chariot racer. As we reported last month, Tom Hiddleston had previously been eyed for the lead role. Best known for his role as masked hitman Richard Harrow on the HBO crime drama, Huston has also appeared in a number of recent films including "American Hustle," "Kill Your Darlings" and David Chase's "Not Fade Away." Upcoming big-screen credits for the actor include "Posthumous" opposite Brit Marling, Nicholas Sparks adaptation "The Longest Ride" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," an adaptation of the bestselling mashup novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. Based on the hugely popular 1880 novel by Lew Wallace, »
- Chris Eggertsen
The new adaptation of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel focuses on a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend Messala who betrayed him. Both have to choose between retribution and forgiveness.
The key role of Messala is to be cast next. Morgan Freeman came onboard recently as Ildarin, the character who teaches Ben-Hur to become a champion chariot racer. Also still to be cast is Jesus Christ whose story parallels with Ben-Hur in the film.
No word on a production start date, but the film is targeting a February 26th 2016 release.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
Jack Huston has been tapped to fill Charlton Heston's sandals. The Boardwalk Empire actor is in talks to star in Paramount and MGM's Ben-Hur remake, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The deal has not yet been finalized and could still fall apart. Filming is set to begin in Europe next year with director Timur Bekmambetov at the helm. Morgan Freeman had been previously announced to co-star in the film as Ildarin, who teaches Ben-Hur how to race chariots. John Ridley did a rewrite on Keith Clarke's script. Ridley, Clarke, Jason F. Brown and Roma Downey are executive producers.
- Ryan Gajewski
The studios will set their sights on casting the role of Messala next, the one-time friend of Ben-Hur who frames him for an accident, which causes him to be sold in to slavery. This duplicitous act ignites Ben-Hur's long journey for revenge. Along the way, he meets Ildarin (Morgan Freeman), who teaches the title character to become a champion chariot racer.
The story is said to be much more faithful to the original Lew Wallace novel, with the remake including the parallel story of Jesus Christ, which wasn't included in the 1959 Ben-Hur film that starred Charlton Heston. »
Matt Damon is getting some company in the sci-fi survival film The Martian. The Wrap reports that Halt and Catch Fire star Mackenzie Davis is in talks to join director Ridley Scott’s next film in a “small but crucial role”. Scripted by Drew Goddard based on an e-book by Andy Weir, Damon stars as an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars and must figure out how to return home. Jessica Chastain is set to co-star in the pic in another unspecified role, but one imagines Damon will hold most of the screentime by himself. Davis has proven to be a formidable talent to watch in films like Breathe In and most recently the romantic comedy What If, and The Martian is certainly her highest profile role to date. In addition to The Martian, The Wrap notes that Davis is currently filming Anna Axster’s indie A Country Called Home »
- Adam Chitwood
The film is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” and follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him.
The pic is set to bow on Feb. 26, 2016.
“Ben-Hur” joins the long list of Hollywood’s recent interest in biblical stories that have either bowed or are set to bow in the next couple of years. Paramount had already seen success from this genre with “Noah,” Darren Aronofsky »
- Justin Kroll
Exclusive: MGM and Paramount have found Ben-Hur. The studios are setting Jack Huston, and you just knew he was going to get a big, star-making film role after his portrayal of the masked, war-scarred assassin Richard Harrow on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. It would be hard to imagine a bigger-scale picture than Ben-Hur, with Timur Bekmambetov directing the epic remake in Europe next year. Huston joins Morgan Freeman, whom Deadline broke will play the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.
MGM and Paramount still have to find their Messala, Ben-Hur’s former close friend-turned-bitter rival. Actors have been circling both parts, and it looked for a while there like Huston might have played the latter. He read for that role, but Bekmambetov decided instead he had the sympathetic manner and grit to play the title role, the one that brought »
- Mike Fleming Jr
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