Even before it began production, the idea of a remake of “Ben-Hur” had various people scratching their heads. The Lew Wallace novel had previously been adapted for the screen into an iconic film in 1959, did we need another?
To be fair last year’s new adaptation tried to appeal to a more faith-based audience with the inclusion of Jesus Christ (Rodrigo Santoro) as a character, something the previous film effectively ignored. It didn’t work though as critics panned the film and the movie bombed – grossing just $94.1 million worldwide from a $100 million budget.
This week whilst speaking with Business Insider at the Sundance Film Festival, the film’s star Jack Huston said the failure of the movie broke his heart. He suggests while the production went seamlessly, much of the problems came during post with the studio shying away from the new path Huston and director Timur Bekmambetov wanted to take:
“When I went into the movie I had a very candid conversation with everyone and I said, ‘We’re going to get nailed.’ We did something very different in that Judah was never a hero. I wanted the audience to almost be guessing who was going to win the chariot race.
What I found so interesting was we could recreate this amazing character. You hire a filmmaker, go with the filmmaker’s vision. The movie kind of breaks my heart because I know what we did and it’s very hard when there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.
I learned so much from ‘Ben-Hur,’ the whole process was invaluable. And I stand by my performance in it because it was a real choice. I know there was a much better film there that we created, it just got lost.”
Huston is the grandson of famed director John Huston and recently started his own production company called CYSA Productions. He also has four films currently on the way for a release in 2017.