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John Ridley ('12 Years A Slave') Hired By MGM To Rewrite 'Ben-Hur' Reboot

by Tambay A. Obenson
October 24, 2013 12:45 PM
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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 BenjaminAll 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.

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  • Troy | October 24, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    The image of historical figures mean nothing it is about the work and processes that make them larger than life. I'm sure you may not enjoy theater if you are only interested in the visual aesthetic. John Ridley may be heating up but I hope he starts having a story to tell. His formula is tried and true but here's too him sneaking in something of note with the formula.

  • Walter Harris Gavin | October 24, 2013 1:48 PMReply

    I agree. Completely necessary. Unless they decide to break new ground and show a "black" Christ. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Given the propensity to whitewash everything biblical as in Russell Crowe playing Noah or "white" actors playing African/Middle Eastern historical characters. That's about as ridiculous as having Denzel play Alexander the Great.

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