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Published On: Mon, Apr 28th, 2014

MGM hires Mark Burnett, Roma Downey to produce ‘Ben-Hur’ remake

The character made famous by Charlton Heston will be back. Paramount, MGM have hired The Bible, Son of God creators Mark Burnett and Roma Downey to produce a remake of the classic Ben-Hur.

“We are thrilled to have Mark and Roma join the production team to bring such an indelible classic story to the big screen,” MGM CEO Gary Barber said in a statement Sunday.

“Their unrivaled passion, creativity and success in the faith-based content space will be a huge asset to the film, and we look forward to working together,” he said.

Charlton Heston 1924 - 2008Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer, the group behind the movement that played a role in Phil Robertson’s return to “Duck Dynasty,” applauded the move.

He said the decision was a sign that Hollywood had learned its lesson from the film “Noah,” which got a chilly reception from Christian audiences.

“If Faith Driven Consumers were a core target for ‘Noah,’ Darren Aronofsky (an atheist) was the wrong choice,” he said in a statement.

“Having left untold millions on the table with that film,” he continued, “Paramount appears to have learned from its mistakes and to be taking a completely new approach with the upcoming remake of ‘Ben-Hur’ by signing producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.”

Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov is set to direct the film. Timur directed the crime thriller Wanted and then 2012’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

The studio, also behind the Oscar-winning 1959 version, has yet to announce who will step into Heston’s sandals to play Judah Ben-Hur, the Jewish prince seeking vengeance after being betrayed and sold into slavery.

No official dates are set, but the studio seems to be pressing for a 2016 release.

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About the Author

- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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