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In the Works: Timur Bekmambetov In Talks to Reboot 'Ben-Hur'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 20, 2013 at 12:50PM

Timur Bekmambetov ("Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Wanted") is in talks to helm MGM's reboot of the studio's biblical epic classic and Oscar winner "Ben-Hur," directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston as the eponymous chariot racer.
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Timur Bekmambetov
Timur Bekmambetov

Timur Bekmambetov ("Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Wanted") is in talks to helm MGM's reboot of the studio's biblical epic classic and Oscar winner "Ben-Hur," directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston as the eponymous chariot racer. 

Keith Clarke penned the script, adapted from the 1888 novel, "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,"  by Lew Wallace. The book, which is in the public domain, centers on the years prior to those focused on in the 1959 film; Jewish prince and Jerusalem merchant Judah Ben-Hur is betrayed by his childhood friend Messala, who has recently returned home from commanding the Roman legions.

1959's "Ben-Hur"
1959's "Ben-Hur"

We recently looked at the biblical epic trend in Hollywood; the '59 version of "Ben-Hur" is currently sitting as the best bible film of all time in the poll we conducted. Among other projects, Ridley Scott's "Exodus" is in the works, with Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, while Darren Aronofsky's "Noah," starring Russell Crowe, is set for a March 2014 release.

This news of a "Ben-Hur" reboot is a far cry from yesterday's Bekmambetov news: He released a trailer for his horror comedy production "Squirrels."

This article is related to: News, In The Works, IN THE WORKS, Timur Bekmambetov, Classics, MGM/UA


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.