[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen MGM announced that they were going to remake the peerless Ben-Hur, you might have assumed that the cheering would be akin to something straight out of a gladiatorial arena. Well things didn’t quite work out that way and now, as Russian director Timur Bekmambetov is in talks to take the helm, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
So, are the wheels coming off the chariot already, or should people give poor old Beks a fair crack of the whip? With Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter still fresh in the memory, there are many who feel that MGM would be mad to put him in charge of something of this magnitude. Doubtless there are those who will be thrilled at the prospect of a 21st-century version of the biblical epic, but even they might feel a little iffy at the thought of Bekmambetov taking this giant leap.
To be honest, anyone would be totally justified in questioning the wisdom of trying to emulate a flick with 11 Oscars to its name, so is there any point to it? With your indulgence, aptly enough, a little history. For all the glory, the classic 1959 picture wasn’t actually true to the original story, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, published way back in 1880. However, a script penned by Keith R. Clarke fell into the hands of MGM and, like the book by Lew Wallace, it follows the childhood of best buddies Judah Ben-Hur and Messalla, the latter enslaving the titular character years on down the line. The tale is also interwoven with the life of Jesus.
After blowing that rather large raspberry in the doubters’ faces, what are the chances of this mammoth undertaking being a success? I know it’s difficult, but if we forget about Vampire Hunter for a moment it’s not all bad. MGM have actually approved of Bekmambetov’s vision for this unenviable task, so he must be doing something right. You’ve also got to admire the man for having the guts to take it on; he’s either extremely ambitious, or just a little bit crazy!
So yet another Hollywood rehash is slated for 2015, but movie-goers will be watching this one like a hawk. How many Oscars, if any, will it win? Will it even see the light of day? As usual, follow Roobla to find out.