MGM has bought a spec script from Keith Clarke ("The Way Back") that is based on the Lew Wallace novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ," as the Wyler picture was. However, the project is aiming to tell a different story than 1959 picture, breaking off onto its own in two key ways: firstly, it will focus on the "formative years" of Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, leading up to the moment in which the latter betrays the former, selling him into slavery which (eventually) leads to revenge and chariot races. And oh yeah, this new version will feature a "parallel" story of Jesus Christ, who meets up with Ben-Hur at various points, and is eventually sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate.
Oh! So MGM wants the Christian market. That explains it. You can toss this on file with the other God-market movies in development including Ridley Scott's "Moses," Steven Spielberg's "Gods And Kings," the brewing "Pontius Pilate" that may star Brad Pitt and more. No word yet on directors or stars, but good luck to whoever takes it on. [Deadline]