Roma Downey & Mark Burnett sign on for 2016 ‘Ben-Hur’ reboot


On Friday Mike Fleming, Jr., posted this news about the remake of “Ben-Hur” over at Deadline. My big question is will this new film include the entire story, including the role that Balthazar’s daughter Iras has in the entire tale.

I don’t know how you can remake a film like “Ben-Hur” and that spectacular chariot race (do you know how long it really lasts? See below.)

Who could ever play Judah Ben-Hur? Chris Helmsworth? Channing Tatum? If only Brad Pitt were younger but even then I am not sure he has the gravitas to pull it off. These guys resemble Charlton Heston, the original Ben Hur, though, more than an Israeli man me thinks. I don’t think, and I would not advise, getting an unknown to play the part. But that’s me. But why not go the whole way and hire an Israeli actor to play Judah? I am thinking of Yiftach Klein who played Yochay in the brilliant 2012 film about a Jewish family in “Fill the Void“? And the beautiful Hadas Yaron who played Shira – and even better Renana Raz who plays the older sister Esther?

Israeli actor Yiftach Klein

Watching “Ben-Hur” for the first time on video back in the early 80s was the first time I saw what the Last Supper may have been like based on Jewish ritual, and now the Mass.

If you have never read Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur – A Tale of the Christ” it is well worth the read. It is a well constructed, fascinating story – and you can download it for free on your Kindle or Kindle app.

“Ben-Hur” is not a Bible movie. It is about a Jewish man whose life is changed because his life intersects with that of Jesus.

Here’s the news from Deadline:

BREAKING: After scoring huge ratings with the miniseries The Bible and carving out a second theatrical hit with the same footage in Son Of God, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount PicturesBen-Hur. Deadline has long been telling you about this ambitious new adaptation of the Lew Wallace 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of Christ, with script by Keith Clarke and Oscar winning 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley, and Timur Bekmambetov directing. Click here to continue reading on Deadline


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The chariot race lasts just over 8 minutes by my count but most people think it lasts about 20 minutes.  The entire race sequence ending when Ben-Hur is crowned victor, is just under 10 minutes.

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