MGM is planning a new remake of its 1959 epic Ben-Hur, Deadline has reported. MGM no longer owns the film, which stars Charlton Heston as a Jewish slave in Roman-occupied Judea, as it was sold to Ted Turner in the 1980s. But the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ is now in the public domain, and MGM plans to adapt it.
According to Deadline, “the script differs from the movie, in that it will tell the parallel tale of Jesus Christ, with whom Ben-Hur has several encounters which moves him to become a believer in Jesus, and which culminates in Jesus being sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate [...] The depiction of Jesus Christ as an occasional character in the script puts this project squarely in the mix of Biblical-themed films that are proliferating at studios around town. They include Pontius Pilate, which now has Brad Pitt attached to the Vera Blasi-scripted Warner Bros project; two films about Moses that Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott are separately circling; and the Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah, which stars Russell Crowe.”