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.
A few weeks back rumors began swirling that Spike Lee & Ray Allen could possibly be linking back up for “He Got Game 2”. With the NBA testing out it’s “nickname” jerseys, Ray Allen saw the perfect opportunity to showcase the legendary “J.Shuttlesworth” on the back of his jersey. This again has the rumor mills spinning as many believe this is a sign of things to come, no official word on the movie yet but it sounds like it could really happen. Keep an eye out for more info as it comes in.
Director Kevin Smith has been doing a fairly good job of staying on the low recently. The director had recently announced plans to retire from filmmaking following his next project, Clerks 3, which is scheduled to begin filming this May. Following Clerks 3, however, the director will be taking his filmmaking talents in a new direction. Clerks 3 will (for now) be his last project with his View Askew characters, namely Jay and Silent Bob, and Dante and Randall, and the director is already looking ahead to plan his next project, a film called Helena Handbag. Smith is currently nearing completion on his most recent film, Tusk, which was inspired by a SModcast episode titled The Walrus and The Carpenter and concerned a tenant receiving free rent in exchange for dressing up as a Walrus to keep his landlord company. Strange, I know, and it’s also a bit surprising to see Smith coming out with a horror movie, but Helena Handbag will be an endeavor back into the realm of comedy.
The plot, according to Smith, involves humanity joining forces with hell to prevent mankind’s extinction by a “Rapturing giant Jesus.” I’m sure, after reading that, that you automatically have mixed feelings about it, but don’t worry, our director is not so ignorant that he thinks this will be an easy film to make. Smith has stated that he knows there’s a chance the film won’t even get picked up at all because it is sure to cause some controversies with religious fanatics and organizations, but we’ll see what happens. Maybe he can work it out so that the humor will be good enough to see passed the religious implications behind the plot! Tusk is due out sometime later this year, so keep an eye out for a movie trailer; with production wrapping up, they’re sure to release one soon.