With the growing divide in America between the secular and the religious, (thank you, President Barack Obama) there has been a growing demand for films that reflect religious themes.
From The Passion of the Christ to the Narnia franchise, with the upcoming films revolving around Noah and Moses, it would seem inevitable with Hollywood’s passion for remakes that sooner or later Ben-Hur would be scheduled to be remade.
MGM, which released Ben-Hur in 1959, has bought a spec script for the remake by Keith Clarke (The Way Back). The script promises to be more faithful to the original 1880 novel by Lew Wallace than the 1959 film, which was the first to win 11 Academy Awards (only equaled by the execrable Titanic and the magnificent Lord of the Rings: Return of the King)
This new script spends time examining the years Judah Ben-Hur and Messala spent as childhood friends, an era ignored by the 1959 film. These years will be more useful in also examining what was happening with Jesus Christ, who only appears in the 1959 film as a fully grown man.
If it seems ridiculous to remake one of the greatest films ever made, consider that The Wizard of Oz is also targeted for a possible remake. In Hollywood nothing is sacred, but one would think there would be some respect shown for the industry’s greatest achievements, and they would be left alone.
On the other hand, if a new Ben-Hur sparks a renaissance of religion in the U.S., that’s always a good thing …