A remake of director William Wyler‘s 1959 epic Ben-Hur is currently in the works at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures, and the producer’s and director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) are working hard getting the pre-production check list in order. Thus far the cast includes actors Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire, American Hustle), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight), Toby Kebbell (Wrath of the Titans, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and Nezanin Boniadi (Iron Man, The Next Three Days), with Rodrigo Santoro (Love Actually, 300: Rise of an Empire) making an appearance in the role of Jesus Christ. The story of Ben-Hur comes from the 19th-century book by Lew Wallace titled Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ, which tells the story of a Jewish prince who is betrayed by his Roman friend and sent into years of enslavement, only to regain his freedom and return to seek his vengeance. The original movie starred Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, and Stephen Boyd and won 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston), Best Director (Wyler), Best Cinematographer (Robert Surtees), and Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith). The new movie is expected to be in theaters sometime in 2016, so we’ll be following it for a while; in the meantime you should definitely check out the original; you can find it available on both DVD and Blu-Ray disc.
This year the Chicago International Film Festival will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary. Founded in 1964 by Michael Kutza, and recognized as the first international film festival in North America, the organization has gained worldwide recognition for bringing independent and international films and their creators to Chicago audiences. Over the years a number of big names in the film industry have been highlighted or attended, including Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Martin Scorsese, Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Halle Barry, and Edward Norton. This year the festival will open tomorrow, October 9th with Miss Julie from Scandinavian director Liv Ullmann, starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton at the Harris Theater at 205 E. Randolph Street in Chicago. The festival will run from October 9th to the October 23rd. For tickets and ordering information and for the full schedule and theater locations you can check out http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/festival/festival-guide/tickets/. Enjoy!!
The follow up to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes is coming out this July and the new trailer is here to get us even more excited. Picking up ten years after Rise took place, Caesar and his band of intelligent apes have been living peacefully isolated without human interference until a band of survivors of the virus that spread globally at the end of Rise decides to wage war against them. The new film is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), who took over the responsibility from Rise director Rupert Wyatt, and also stars Oscar nominee Gary Oldman (Leon The Professional, The Dark Knight) and Golden Globe nominee Andy Serkis (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings). Both Dawn and Rise are set as modern-day prequels to the original Planet of the Apes which first hit theaters back in 1968 and starred Charlton Heston as an astronaut who returns to Earth in the distant future (unbeknownst to him until the end) and finds a planet where intelligent apes are the dominant species and humans a primitive race. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, receiving an honorary award for Achievement in Make-Up effects, and went on to have four sequels with Roddy McDowall, who played both Cornelius in the first three movies and then his son Caesar (yes, the same Caesar character as the new films) in Conquest (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). You can watch the new official trailer right here on MADE!
Ridley Scott has been making ground-breaking blockbusters and cinematic icons for the last forty years. Going as far back as Alien, his catalogue has grown to include such classics as Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, Matchstick Men, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, and Robin Hood. The director has also been nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Director for Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down. With The Counselor hitting theaters this fall, Scott will now be looking to future projects, beginning with an adaptation of the Biblical story Exodus, which could potentially begin shooting right around the time of The Counselor‘s release.
Recent news has reported that Joel Edgerton will be taking the role of Ramses opposite Christian Bale, who has the lead role of Moses. Despite the fact that the Exodus story has been told time and again, perhaps most famously by Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments, a fresh, dramatic take on the story could be just the thing for a director like Ridley Scott. This would also be a huge career push for both Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale, whose most recent and famous role has been as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Bale is currently facing huge rumors revolving around a $50 million offer to play Batman in the next Man of Steel movie, but this is all just wild speculation considering neither Bale or the studios have confirmed anything. Fans of Scott will be counting on a good delivery, especially since Prometheus didn’t meet well with audiences last year. A sequel for Prometheus is in the early production stages, but for now Scott’s more pressing matter will be getting this Moses project (which has been floating around since 2009) off of the shelves and onto the screen. The Counselor is set to hit theaters October 25th.