Ben-Hur remake planned

A new angle is to be taken on the 1880 novel, with the original studio MGM behind it

A remake of 'Ben-Hur' is being planned by major studio MGM, according to reports.

A script has been purchased by the studio which has been adapted by Keith Clarke, who penned the acclaimed POW drama 'The Way Back.

[Related story: Brad Pitt to play Pontius Pilate?]

Ben-Hur... to be remade by MGM (Copyright: Rex)

But it's thought that the new screenplay will take a slightly different angle than the Charlton Heston-fronted 1959 epic, directed by William Wyler and also made by MGM.

The new version, taken from Lew Wallace's book, originally published in 1880, will also concentrate on the story of Jesus Christ – right up to his crucifixion – as well as Judah Ben-Hur's feud with his childhood friend Messala.

Biblical epics are never the cheapest movies to make, but the newly invigorated studio is now sitting on a substantial war chest from the success of both 'Skyfall' and 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'.

The film will sit among a number of biblical projects forthcoming.

'Black Swan's Darren Aronofsky is currently working on his version of 'Noah', with Russell Crowe as the ancient ark builder.

Meanwhile news emerged last week of a film version of the story of Pontius Pilate, the figure who sentenced Christ to death, with Brad Pitt circling the lead role.

This would join a version of 'Jesus of Nazareth' that is being planned by 'Total Recall' director Paul Verhoeven, with a script from 'Pulp Fiction' writer Roger Avery, and the mooted re-telling of the Cane and Abel story featuring Will Smith in the director's chair.