Ridley Talks “Ben-Hur” Remake Changes

One of the more surprising remake announcements in recent years has been that of “Ben-Hur,” a new take by MGM and Paramount on the Lew Wallace novel.

The Timur Bekmambetov-directed new version will follow the book much closer than the Charlton Heston-led previous (and iconic) film adaptation in 1959. John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) is penning the script and recently spoke with Coming Soon about the project and how it will differ from the William Wyler classic:

“It’s going to be different in the sense that the original writer Keith Clarke wrote an amazing script and then went back to the Lew Wallace novel and really excavated the relationship between the two main characters, Ben-Hur and Messala.

It’s interesting to a degree. It’s kind of like going after Jimi Hendrix, because there are things about the 1959 movie that we think we remember, there are things that really happened, including obviously the chariot race, so it’s going to be different in the sense that we’re not really trying to completely chase the movie people remember but there are elements of that movie: the heart of the film, the emotional drive of the film that we want to try to bring to a whole new audience.

I think it’s an interesting project. It’s certainly challenging. It’s certainly one that people are going to come into with expectations, but like anything you do, you gotta exceed those expectations to a degree and also not worry about them because at its core, we hope and believe that we’ve got something that’s unique.”

Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman and Toby Kebbell star in the film which will go into production next year.