For quite a while now a remake of Ben-Hur has been in the works. Now it’s starting to move towards production with Deadline reporting that Tom Hiddleston is MGM, Paramount Pictures and director Timur Bekmambetov’s top choice to play the lead role.
It doesn’t appear an official offer has been extended to the actor yet, and Hiddleston has other offers on the table, but it seems he’s the one the studios want.
Keith R. Clarke wrote the spec script for the film, which is said to be more faithful to Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel than the multi-Oscar winning 1959 movie, which starred Charlton Heston.
The 1950s version focussed on the section of the story that was about the feud between the Jewish Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and his Roman former friend Messalla (Stephen Boyd). The new film is said to further explore these characters’ formative years, when they grew up together before the Roman Empire conquered Jerusalem.
This film will also include the story of Jesus Christ, whose story is told in parallel to Ben-Hur’s. Although this was touched on in the Charlton Heston film, it’s said to be more central to the remake.