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Peter T Chattaway

Ben-Hur (2016)

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Link to our thread on the 1907 and 1959 film versions; we don't seem to have a thread on the 1925 or 2010 film versions.

Link to our thread on the 2009 live stage adaptation.

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Sweet Chariot! MGM is Rebooting ‘Ben-Hur’
EXCLUSIVE: What a difference $2 billion in late fall box office business has done for MGM‘s ambitions. The studio is planning to unleash a new version of Ben-Hur, based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, which outsold every book but The Bible until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind.
MGM, which emerged from bankruptcy and is raising new funding after Skyfall crossed $1 billion worldwide gross and The Hobbit heads to the $900 million mark, is buying a Ben-Hur spec by Keith Clarke (he scripted the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back), and the package comes with Sean Daniel and Joni Levin attached to produce, and Clarke and Jason Brown exec producing. . . .
MGM, now steered by Gary Barber and production president Jonathan Glickman and taking on action adventure films that include Hercules with Dwayne Johnson and Count Of Monte Cristo, 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).
This film will tell the formative story of the characters as they grew up best friends before the Roman Empire took control of Jerusalem. . . .
There is another way the script differs from the movie, in that 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. . . .
Deadline.com, January 14


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This film will tell the formative story of the characters as they grew up

Everything needs an origin story!


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Those talks have led to a deal. Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Apparently Paramount wasn't *too* burned by its foray into the Bible-movie genre with Noah. They are now collaborating with MGM on the Ben-Hur remake.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Oh no. Let's hope that Mark Burnett and Roma Downey don't turn this into Ben-Rehash, like that other film Son of God (Son of Rehash, more accurately) did with The Bible miniseries. 

I hope it turns to be a great movie, like the 1925 and 1959 versions were.

Edited by Anand Venigalla

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I like how the Deadline article calls them "Jesus Whisperers". The implication seems to be that they have been brought on board *not* so much for their creative input (Downey is even listed merely as an "executive producer", rather than a "producer", period) as for their ability to sell films like this to the "faith-based" market.

 

It's funny, because someone with closer ties to the industry than myself recently used the term "Christian Whisperer" to describe similar people who have helped the studios connect to the Christian audience. I'm beginning to wonder if that phrase is just part of the standard industry jargon where "faith-based" outreach is concerned.

 

In any case, MGM has been developing this film for over a year, and Burnett & Downey's statement makes it clear that John Ridley's rewrite of the script was already a done deal before they were brought on board, and the director of the film is still Timur Freaking Bekmambetov, so I don't see how Burnett & Downey's involvement will really impact the final film itself that much.

 

I do wonder, though: Given that Burnett & Downey already have two *other* projects in development set in Roman-occupied Judea (A.D. and The Dovekeepers), will those projects be sharing sets and props etc. with the Ben-Hur team?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Morgan Freeman appears to be playing the Arab sheikh, a part that won Hugh Griffith an Oscar in 1960.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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For those of you (which appears to be almost everyone) who have not seen Huston in Boardwalk Empire, there is a respectable argument that he does the very best acting in the show (and he does this with only half a face).  While it has been fun to see him given bit parts in films like American Hustle and Not Fade Away, none of those films even began to tap his ability as an actor.  So this is a better casting choice than many of you will be able to imagine if you have only seen Huston in films.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Ouija star Olivia Cooke, who turns 21 next month, may play Ben-Hur's sister. She would be the youngest actress to do so since the silent era, possibly ever. (The actress in the 1925 film was born in April 1903, and the 1925 film was apparently shot between October 1923 and August 1925 -- almost two full years! -- so it's possible they shot her scenes when she was 20, and it's possible they shot her scenes when she was 22...)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The actor who played Xerxes in 300 and its sequel is going to play Jesus in this film. That gave me an excuse to look at how three previous filmed versions of Ben-Hur depicted Jesus (or not, as the case may be).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Moises Arias is playing Gestas. As in, the thief-who-cursed-Jesus Gestas...?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Principal photography began today. Here's the press release.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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