Ben Hur remake set for 2016 release

MGM and Paramount Pictures collaborate on the production
The 1959 epic, Ben Hur, starred Charlton Heston and is famed for its spectacular chariot race scenes.
The 1959 epic, Ben Hur, starred Charlton Heston and is famed for its spectacular chariot race scenes.

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Hollywood studios MGM and Paramount Pictures will collaborate to produce a remake of the 1959 epic, Ben Hur.

The film, which is set during the Roman era, is based on a 19th century novel by Lewis Wallace. The film is slated for release in February 2016.

MGM said that Mark Burnett has joined the project as a producer, and will work with fellow producers Sean Daniel (The Mummy Franchise) and Joni Levin (The Way Back). Meanwhile, Roma Downey (Son of God) has joined as an executive producer.

Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) will direct the film. The screenplay, originally written by Keith Clarke (The Way Back), with revisions by Academy Award-winner John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 epic novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ.

Downey (The Bible) and John Ridley will serve as executive producers along with Keith Clarke and Jason F. Brown.

“We are thrilled to have Mark and Roma join the production team to bring such an indelible classic story to the big screen,” said Gary Barber, MGM’s chairman and CEO.

MGM will handle production with Jonathan Glickman, President, Motion Picture Group and Matt Dines, vice president, production, overseeing the project on behalf of the studio. The film will be distributed worldwide by Paramount Pictures, with select international territories as well as all television distribution to be handled by MGM.

The film returns to the heart of Lew Wallace’s epic novel focusing on the nature of faith, according to a statement from MGM. The story follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.

MGM and Paramount are currently partnered on the upcoming Hercules, releasing July 25 as well as the sequel to Hot Tub Time Machine, releasing Christmas day. The studios previously teamed up on the release of GI Joe: Retaliation and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
 

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