If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Grease up those chariot wheels, boys and girls, because we're getting a 'Ben-Hur' remake...sort of. MGM, the studio that has already slated for remake somewhere in the neighborhood of XXVI of its catalog titles, has begun planning a new version of William Wyler's classic 1959 opus. More specifically, they are plotting a new adaptation of the novel 'Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ' by Lew Wallace. First published in 1880, the novel outsold every book except the Bible until it was surpassed by Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind.' This tactic of going back to the source, the public domain novel, rather than just crafting a second iteration of the movie may have something to do with the fact that MGM sold the rights to the film to Ted Turner in the 1980s. MGM has purchased a spec script by Keith Clarke ('The Way Back'). The story will once again center on the relationship between Jewish prince Ben-Hur and Messala, the son of a Roman tax collector in the days before the Roman Empire took control of Jerusalem. No word yet on when the new 'Ben-Hur' is going into production, nor who will director or star.
Really? 'Ben-Hur?' Nevermind the fact that Hollywood is furthering its creative bankruptcy by constantly either turning to remakes or filmic adaptations of recognizable brands, there have already been multiple versions of this story. Even before the Charlton Heston classic, there was a silent version in 1925. If that wasn't enough, then can an animated version in 2003 and a TV mini-series in 2010. This is not a story that needs revisiting, especially given the current state of studio period epics. The last thing we need is a slicker, more 'Clash of the Titans'-looking 'Ben-Hur.' I don't what it is with MGM, but they are remake crazy right now. The new 'Red Dawn' hit just a few months ago, with 'Carrie' due up soon and 'Robocop,' in production. They've also put into motion new versions of 'Poltergeist,' 'WarGames,' 'Death Wish,' and 'The Magnificent Seven.' This may be the one draw back of 'Skyfall' making so much money. Now MGM seems to think its best chance for becoming a powerhouse studio again, after declaring bankruptcy not so long ago, is churning out remakes of some true classics. That being said, the one mitigating factor here is that hopefully, since MGM doesn't technically have the rights to the 1959 film, this will not be a shot-for-shot remake.
What do you guys think? Could you get behind a 'Ben-Hur' remake? Who should direct and who should star?