Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Board ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

#11 Mark Burnett and Roma Downey
Vera Anderson/WireImage

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (“Son of God”) have joined MGM-Paramount’s “Ben-Hur” as producers.

The studios are co-producing the film, set for release on Feb. 26, 2016.

Burnett joins Sean Daniel (“The Mummy” franchise) and Joni Levin as a producer. Downey is an executive producer.

“Wanted” director Timur Bekmambetov is helming from a screenplay originally written by Keith Clarke with revisions by “12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley, who will exec produce along with Clarke and Jason F. Brown.

The project began taking shape last year when MGM acquired Clarke’s script, an adaption of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” That story focuses on the years prior to those portrayed the 1959 film, centering on the characters Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem, and his childhood friend Messala, who returns home as a commanding officer of the Roman legions and betrays the Ben-Hur family.

The novel is in the public domain. The 1959 movie, which was set in ancient Rome, was directed by William Wyler and produced by Sam Zimbalist. It starred Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins and Hugh Griffith and won 11 Oscars, including best picture.

The 1925 movie version of “Ben-Hur,” starring Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman, was also a major success.

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

Downey and Burnett executive produced “The Bible” TV series last year for History. Fox released the movie version in February and the film has topped $59 million in the U.S.

“What an honor it will be to help bring this epic film back to the big screen,” said Downey and Burnett. “When Gary Barber allowed us to read John Ridley’s amazing script, we immediately knew we had to join this team.”

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  1. So I’m guessing there won’t be any homoeroticism in this one?

  2. nelson says:

    I guess Paramount won’t be making the same mistake associating with those who made the deceptive Noah ! Bringing in Burnett And Downey for Ben-Hur will help them reestablish the credibility they lost when they released the totally implausible story premise that the delusional Aronofsky directed !! My guess is that some in Hollywood are doing a lot of reflection when it comes to Christian themed or biblically based movies ! Aronofsky ! Let me put this delicately. I think your chances of ever directing another big budget movie is over ! What a bitter pill to swallow. Noah, from my view, failed financially. But also failed, more importantly, to convey God’s true reason for the flood and the epic judgment during that time. Sorry, Variety ! Your critic was just as delusional when he reviewed the movie !

  3. They are a dynamic team that is helping to restore dignity, nobility, and honor to Hollywood – on the big screen and small – showcasing respectful, non-vulgar TV shows and films…proving in the process just how positive an impact such elegant productions can have on society. Thank you Mark and Roma for all the great Light you bring to Hollywood – and the world

  4. filmexec1 says:

    Another Hit! These people know how make films!

  5. PETER says:

    Will it have all the sex that the 2010, Brit TV version had?

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