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There’s nothing quite like seeing a studio return to the films that made it famous to begin with in the hopes of recapturing that magic. MGM is doing just that following its success with Skyfall by announcing plans to reboot Ben-Hur.
As Deadline points out, MGM has already made two versions of Ben-Hur: The 1925 silent film Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and the 1959 Charlton Heston classic Ben-Hur. As MGM sold the rights to the latter project in the 1980s, this new Ben-Hur film will simply be an adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
This version will apparently be a good deal different than the 1959 film. Deadline writes that MGM “just loved a spec that is faithful to the book and is much different than the 1959 William Wyler film that focused on the adult blood feud between Judah Ben-Hur (Heston) and Messala (Stephen Boyd).”
By contrast, the new Ben-Hur will “tell the formative story of the characters as they grew up best friends before the Roman Empire took control of Jerusalem. … It will tell the parallel tale of Jesus Christ, with whom Ben-Hur has several encounters which moves him to become a believer in the Messiah, and which culminates in Christ being sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. Intertwined in all this is the lifelong struggle between Ben-Hur and Messala.”
That’s not the only film about Pontius Pilate in the works. Warner Bros. is also developing a film about the Biblical figure that reportedly has Brad Pitt interested in the title character.