Fans of Tom Hiddleston steadfastly believe that the British actor can do anything — after all, he did make a Marvel baddie into one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most beloved characters, no small feat — but that doesn’t mean that he should do this. In fact, no one should be doing this, and everyone involved should just step away from this project very, very slowly. Just ease back. No? We’re still making this, Hollywood? Fine.
Back in the fall of last year, news hit the wire that MGM and Paramount were hellbent on remaking the epic classic that is Ben-Hur. The film eventually acquired all the necessary pieces, from a director (Timor Bekmambetov), a pair of screenwriters (a first draft by Keith Clarke has been punched up by John Ridley, writer of 12 Years a Slave), and even a release date (February 26, 2016). Who then would slip into Charlton Heston’s sandals? Tom Hiddleston, if a recent report is to be believed.
Deadline shares that MGM and Paramount are “courting” a single actor for the role of Judah Ben-Hur: Hiddleston. This is in no way a done deal, but Hiddleston is the one that they want. One problem? How damn popular Hiddleston is now, with a crammed schedule that might make such a big epic impossible.
MGM has long been in the Ben-Hur business, thanks to both the 1959 Heston-starring feature (that’s probably the one you think of when you hear “Ben-Hur”) and a 1925 silent film titled Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. While Ben-Hur is a classic that, again, probably shouldn’t be touched, it seems like this was all inevitable — the book the film is based on, Lew Wallace’s novel of the same name, is in the public domain and would likely have been snapped for more movies at some point — so at least MGM is involved. Ben-Hur is a classic title from Hollywood’s heyday, and a major staple of the MGM line, so they certainly have an interest in making this one good.
But, still — why? Ben-Hur is one of the true classics we have, an enduring epic, and it seems bonkers to remake it now. (Yes, even with Hiddleston in the position to star.) The story’s heavily Christian message and Jesus parallels (Judah Ben-Hur is a Jewish prince who is betrayed and sold into slavery and who ultimately has his revenge) are in line with the uptick in Biblical stories hitting the big screen right now — from Noah to Exodus — so there’s certainly an appeal here, but why can’t anything be, well, sacred when it comes to Hollywood?
What do you think?
Latest posts by Kate Erbland (see all)
- Review: ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ Owes Everything to Strong Cast Chemistry, Not Recycled Plot - November 25, 2014
- Review: Haunting ‘Foxcatcher’ Hunts Down the Depths of the American Dream [NYFF] - November 14, 2014
- Review: ‘Big Hero 6’ Is the World’s Most Effective Baymax Delivery System - November 6, 2014
- Review: Miles Teller Pounds His Way Into Stunning, Drumming New Levels in ‘Whiplash’ - October 10, 2014
- Review: Overwrought ‘Maps to the Stars’ Can’t Stay on Course [NYFF] - October 6, 2014