Ben-Hur is out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. My take on the film hasn’t changed much since I wrote my review — if anything, I was even more struck by the casually anachronistic dialogue this time (“Wow,” “Oh my God,” “opinion-makers,” etc.) — but I did want to jot down a few quick notes about the Blu-Ray’s bonus features.
My friend Alissa Wilkinson interviewed The Birth of a Nation director Nate Parker for Christianity Today this past week. Parker has been dealing with some controversial things in his past lately, but his chat with Alissa focuses on the religious elements within the film itself, which concerns Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in 1831.
Watch: Jesus gives Judah Ben-Hur a drink of water in a new “epic faith” trailer for the upcoming Ben-Hur remake
The first trailer for the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur came out last week, and it gave us only a very brief glimpse of Jesus. A new trailer — which first surfaced today on the Facebook page for Son of God, the other big-screen Jesus movie produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey — gives us a little more. Check it out below the jump.
Continuing the trend whereby actors of Portuguese and/or Latin American descent play Jesus in movies produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, The Hollywood Reporter revealed today that Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro has been cast as Jesus in Timur Bekmambetov’s upcoming remake of Ben-Hur, which Burnett and Downey are co-producing.
General Lew Wallace had lived a colorful life of his own before his novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was published in 1880. By then, he had defended Washington, D.C. from Confederates during the Civil War, served on the court-martial that tried Lincoln’s assassins, and, as Governor of New Mexico Territory, dealt with outlaws like Billy the Kid.
But what he really wanted to do was write — and so he wrote his novel about a Jewish prince who is betrayed by a Roman tribune during the time when Jesus lived. Ben-Hur was spurred by Wallace’s love of stories like The Count of Monte Cristo, but it was also motivated by an encounter with Robert Ingersoll, a famous agnostic who was passionately opposed to Christianity. Until that meeting, Wallace had been indifferent towards religion, but afterwards, he felt he needed to research Christianity for himself — and thus he became a believer.