After the success of The Hobbit and Skyfall, the newly flush MGM started thinking about making a new version of Ben-Hur, snapping up a new spec script based on Lew Wallace’s classic novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace. Now they’re moving forward with the idea, as Deadline reports that Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter helmer Timur Bekmambetow is in talks to direct.
Early reports about the new script, by Keith R. Clarke (The Way Back), said it was very different to the Oscar-winning 1959 Charlton Heston-starrer and more faithful to the book. William Wyler’s film focused on the feud between Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and Messalla (Stephen Boyd), but this new film will apparently explore the characters’ formative years, when they grew up as best friends before the Roman Empire conquered Jerusalem.
The script also features Jesus Christ, who encounters Ben-Hur and whose tale is told in parallel to the title character. Ben-Hur begins to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, before he is killed by Pontius Pilate.
It’s something very different to what Bekmambetov has made before, but he could certainly bring some style to the movie.