Ouija star Olivia Cooke may play Judah Ben-Hur’s sister

oliviacookeBen-Hur’s family is coming together. Just two days after it was announced that 45-year-old Ayelet Zurer is in talks to play the title character’s mother in the new version of Ben-Hur, The Wrap reports that Ouija star Olivia Cooke, who turns 21 next month, is being considered for the part of Judah Ben-Hur’s sister Tirzah. Judah himself is being played by Jack Huston, who turns 32 next month. (In the 1959 movie, Judah and Tirzah were played by Charlton Heston and Cathy O’Donnell, who were both 35, and their mother was played by Martha Scott, who was 46. In the 2010 miniseries, Judah was played by Joseph Morgan, 28; Tirzah was played by Kristin Kreuk, 27; and their mother was played by Alex Kingston, 46.)

The mother of Kal-El is in talks to play the mother of Ben-Hur

ayeletzurerGal Gadot may be out as the love interest in Ben-Hur, due to the fact that she’s too busy playing Wonder Woman, but another Israeli actress with experience in the DC Comics movie universe is stepping in — to play Judah Ben-Hur’s mother, rather than his lover.

The Hollywood Reporter says Ayelet Zurer, who played Superman’s mother in Man of Steel, is in talks to play Naomi, one of two women in Ben-Hur’s family (the other is his sister Tirzah) who, in the original story at least, are sent to prison and become lepers there after Ben-Hur is betrayed by his former friend Messala.

Zurer’s other high-profile English-language films include Munich and Angels & Demons.

Ben-Hur’s mother doesn’t have a name in the original novel. In the 1959 film starring Charlton Heston she was called Miriam and played by the distinctly non-Israeli Martha Scott. (Fun fact: Ben-Hur marked the second time that Scott played Heston’s mother onscreen, following the 1956 version of The Ten Commandments.)

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Yet another mini-series about Jesus now in the works.

So, while I was polishing off my last couple of Jesus-themed posts, the Hollywood Reporter posted a story to the effect that yet another mini-series about Jesus is currently in the works.

The projected six-hour mini-series is called Jesus of Nazareth, and is not to be confused with Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 mini-series or the film that Paul Verhoeven has been talking about making for decades (and which, according to the Reporter, is currently stalled for lack of a screenwriter).

The new mini-series is currently being developed by Michael Landon Jr. (pictured) and producer Brian Bird, who have collaborated on a number of Christian films. [Read more...]

New version of Ben-Hur to feature more Jesus?

Big news for Bible-movie buffs today. Deadline reports that the once-moribund MGM, now flush with cash from the billion-dollar successes of Skyfall and The Hobbit, is thinking of making a new adaptation of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

The film would be based on a script by Keith Clarke, whose only big-screen credit to date is the Peter Weir film The Way Back (2010) — and, according to Deadline, while the new film will of course focus on the rivalry between Judah Ben-Hur and his Roman ex-friend Messala, it will also place greater emphasis on the parallel story of Jesus than the famous Charlton Heston-starring 1959 adaptation did.

[Read more...]


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