MGM has hired John Ridley to rewrite the script for its upcoming (and completely unnecessary) reboot of the classic Ben-Hur, based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ.
That Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Wanted) is attached to direct, makes this an even tougher pill for me to swallow, given the filmmaker's visual style. This reboot will probably be closer in look and feel to films like 300 than anything resembling the 1959 Charleton Heston epic, directed by William Wyler, that cleaned up at the Oscars (there was an even earlier adaptation in the 1920s).
Although he's been around for a while, Ridley's name is one that's been attracting some *heat* lately, thanks to all the fan-fare over Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, which Ridley penned the screenplay adaptation for.
And not only did he adapt 12 Years A Slave, he also wrote the script for, and directed another film making its debut this fall (on the film festival circuit) - the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre Benjamin, All Is By My Side.
Ridley is currently developing a film based on the 1992 Los Angeles riots, with Ron Howard's and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment, and Justin Lin (4 Fast & Furious movies) attached to direct
His recent efforts also include penning the script for Spike Lee's HBO series Da Brick, which never made it to air
Regarding the Ben-Hur reboot, Deadline says casting will begin soon, with principal photography set to start next spring.