Another week, another round-up of Ben-Hur-themed news items.
In theory, there is no reason why anyone shouldn’t make a new version of Ben-Hur. Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel has been dramatized several times already, and the most famous film of them all — the 1959 adaptation with Charlton Heston — deviated from the book in ways that arguably made it a less-than-definitive adaptation of the source material. (Among other things, the Heston film is less overt about its Christianity than the silent 1925 version.) So I was prepared to give the new movie a chance.
An epic movie needs an epic featurette, and CBN.com obliged today with a 22-minute featurette called ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale of Forgiveness’. Check it out below the jump.
One of the promotional hurdles faced by the new Ben-Hur is its relative lack of star power. Nearly everyone in its cast is best known for working on television or for minor roles in other films. The main exception is Morgan Freeman, who plays Ilderim, the sheikh who sponsors Judah Ben-Hur in the film’s climactic chariot race.
Ben-Hur comes to theatres on August 19 — that’s just over two months from now — so it’s time for another trailer. And the newest trailer features even more footage of Jesus, whose face was famously kept hidden in the earlier films based on this story.
1. First Mark Burnett and Roma Downey partnered with MGM (and Paramount) on producing the next big-screen version of Ben-Hur. Now the trades are reporting that MGM has bought a majority stake in the production companies run by Burnett and Downey — and, thus, a majority stake in their Bible-themed projects (as well as Burnett’s reality-TV shows, etc.).
Along the way, the trades mention that Burnett and Downey have started principal photography on A.D., their follow-up to The Bible, and that they could not be reached for additional comment because they are currently working on A.D. overseas.
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