Timur Bekmambetov

Eight months ago, MGM bought the rights to Ben-Hur, a new spec script based on the nineteenth century novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace. That news was so crazy, I had wiped it out of my memory. MGM didn’t though, and now the project is progressing.

The latest update is that Timur Bekmambetov, the director of Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, is in early talks to direct the reimagining. Even if he doesn’t agree to make it, the fact MGM is courting a director with a visual style and track record like Bekmambetov says a lot about the script by Keith Clarke (The Way Back). Read More »

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Briefly: Ridley Scott is prepping Exodus, his film about Moses, at Fox. Christian Bale is set to play Moses, and now Scott is looking to Joel Edgerton to play Ramses (or Ramesses II). The actor is in early talks now for the role. Adam Cooper and Bill Collage scripted the film, and Steven Zaillian did a rewrite. This is one of two high-profile Moses films that have been in development in the past year. The other is Gods and Kings, which Steven Spielberg was set to make for a while. He ultimately dropped out, and the film doesn’t have a director at this point.

Edgerton, as you can see thanks to the pic above, isn’t the first guy that comes to mind for an Egyptian ruler who is contemporary to Moses. Perhaps there’s some unexpected element in the script that makes Edgerton suited for the role in a way that isn’t obvious from afar. He’s a fine actor, no argument, but this choice will kickstart arguments about whitewashed casting.

A more obviously great placement for Edgerton is in Jeff Nichols‘ new film Midnight Special, which will feature him alongside Michael ShannonDeadline announces that Kirsten Dunst has also signed on for the sci-fi tinged chase film. [THR]

Noah Header

Darren Aronofsky‘s Biblical epic Noah is scheduled for release March 28, 2014, which means the marketing should start fairly soon. Case in point, the director showed an early cut of the trailer on Thursday to an audience at the Echo Conference, a church-based conference in Texas for “artists, geeks and storytellers.” He sent a video introduction and then showed the trailer.

We don’t have the trailer just yet, but we have the video introduction and some reactions, all of which were positive. Read More »

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum may not be the president of the United States, but he’s about to become the king of Hollywood. Or a Dallas-based, Christian version of it, anyway.

The former Pennsylvania senator has been named CEO of EchoLight Studios, a production company that aims to make “honest, uplifting content” like 2011′s Soul Surfer, only without “water[ing] down the truth.” Hit the jump to learn about Santorum’s new gig, and to watch the trailer for EchoLight’s first theatrical release.

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Andrew Garfield in The Social Network

Each time Andrew Garfield‘s name comes up for a project these days, it’s seemingly bigger and more impressive than the last thing. He was crucial to David Fincher’s The Social Network, he re-imagined your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and now arguably the greatest living filmmaker has tapped him to star in his new project.

Martin Scorsese has cast Garfield as the lead in in Silence, based on an Shusaku Endo novel about Jesuits who attempt to spread Christianity in 17th century Japan. He’ll be joined by Ken Watanabe and filming is set to start Summer 2014. Garfield will play Father Rodrigues, who travels to Japan with a priest and Watanabe will play the priest’s interpreter. Read More »

When Steven Spielberg officially fell away from the DreamWorks project Gods and Kings, leaving the director’s chair open for potential occupation by Ang Lee, we knew that the film’s sagging momentum would be an opportunity for Fox to push its own Moses movie forward.

Ridley Scott has been developing the film, Exodus, at Fox. (Its relationship to Otto Preminger’s 1960 film is in title only, we presume. The film’s relationship to the book of the same name in the Hebrew Bible is likely more direct.) Originally written by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, it has a new draft by Steve Zaillian. Ridley Scott reportedly wants to make it his next film after The Councellor, and now he may have Christian Bale as his Moses. Read More »

Biblical epics seem to be all the rage these days, but one director that won’t be jumping on that bandwagon is Steven Spielberg. The filmmaker has been linked to Warner Bros.’ Moses biopic Gods and Kings since about 2011, but has finally decided to move on. The studio is thinking big for his replacement, however, and has made moves toward Ang Lee as a possible new director. Read more after the jump.

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MGM Remaking ‘Ben-Hur’ From New Spec Script

The 1959 film Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, is one of the most revered films of all-time. Along with classics such as Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz, it’s regularly in the discussion of the best American films ever made. Which, one would think, would make a remake off limits.

MGM has found a way. The company, which released the original film but then sold the rights to Ted Turner, has just purchased a spec script by Keith Clarke (The Way Back) that is “much different” from the original film and “more faithful” to the original book, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace. There’s more after the jump. Read More »

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