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New Ben-Hur Mini-Series Planned

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New Ben-Hur Mini-Series Planned

Old 04-10-08, 09:53 AM
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New Ben-Hur Mini-Series Planned


'Ben-Hur' rides again as miniseries
David Wyler to remake pic as TV series
David Wyler is dusting off the family chariot to remake “Ben-Hur.”

Wyler, whose father William Wyler helmed the 1959 Oscar-winning feature starring the late Charlton Heston, is producing the new version as a miniseries with Alchemy TV.

Christian Duguay (“Coco Chanel,” “Human Trafficking”) will direct the $30 million project, which will start lensing this year.

Announcement was made at Mip TV on Wednesday, four days after Heston’s death. Thesp won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of the prince who becomes a slave but wins his freedom in time for the memorable chariot race sequence.

“We’ve got a joke that this is the family business,” Wyler told Daily Variety. “In my mind, this is dedicated to my dad and Chuck. We think it’s a great way to keep his memory alive.”

Alchemy has already sold the miniseries to Spain, Germany and Canada, and Wyler is in negotiations with two networks and a cable channel for the U.S. rights.

The new version will be based more closely on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel than either the 1959 version or 1925 silent adaptation.

Wyler intends to skew the lead role younger, placing Ben-Hur in his mid-20s. New version will also downplay the religious aspects of the source material.

“We want to look at the spirituality within the piece rather than directly relating it to a specific religion,” Wyler said. “It’s a very complex story. It’s been 50 years since my father’s version, and we think we can bring something new and contemporary to it in the same way that ‘Gladiator’ did for that genre.”
Old 04-10-08, 11:17 AM
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As long as it still has a strong gay subtext, I'm there!
Old 04-10-08, 11:31 AM
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I don't get the comment "the same way that ‘Gladiator’ did for that genre". If you take the Christianity out of Ben Hur it's hardly a different plot than Gladiator, let alone a different genre.

And the original will keep Wyler and Heston's memory alive on it's own, thank you.
Old 04-10-08, 11:46 AM
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Can't wait to see how badly they ruin the race by loading up on the CGI.
Old 04-10-08, 12:25 PM
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I have no problem with a remake, though I doubt it will be anywhere near as good as the Heston version.

And sorry to go off topic, but am I the only one who finds articles from Variety incredibly annoying? From the gratuitous dropping of the word "the" ("Announcement was made," "New version will also downplay ," etc.) to the made-up insider lingo ("Thesp," or my least favorite -- which doesn't appear in this particular article "skien"), it's like nails on a chalkboard every time I read one of these.
Old 04-10-08, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wmansir
I don't get the comment "the same way that ‘Gladiator’ did for that genre".
I read that as producer-speak for: CGI, action, blood, and fast editing. Though Christian Duguay is no Ridley Scott, so the end result will likely be a lot more generic.

I don't really have strong feelings on this. It's silly to decry about a classic being remade, considering the Heston version was a remake. Expanding on the story in a mini-series format could be a good thing (though if it's one of those 2-part 4 hour c/ commericials affairs, the running time would still be less than the 1959 version). "Rome" showed that with the right filmmakers, there's still a lot of mileage to be gotten out of Roman Empire stories. If I hear strong reviews, I'd be open-minded and give it a shot. That's assuming a US network buys the thing.
Old 04-10-08, 06:03 PM
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It's interesting that they are downplaying the religious aspect of a story subtitled "A Tale of the Christ".

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