"Ben-Hur," a film adaptation of Lew Wallace's 1880 Bible-inspired novel, will make a big-screen comeback in 2016, according to Hilary Lewis at The Hollywood Reporter.
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, a Christian couple who have produced faith-based films such as "Son of God," signed on to produce the new film adaptation, which will be released by MGM and Paramount studios.
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore expressed his excitement about working with Burnett and Downey in a statement, reported Lewis.
"A timeless film of this scale and scope requires an incredibly dedicated team of filmmakers, and the opportunity to have visionary talents like Mark and Roma be a part of the making of the film, and knowing their incredible dedication to their own faith, made them the ideal partners to help bring this story authentically to life," Moore said.
Faith Driven Consumer, the Christian advocacy group behind the "I Stand with Phil (Robertson)" movement, applauded MGM and Paramount's decision to include Burnett and Downey in a statement, per Christian News Service.
"Burnett and Downey ... have a strong track record of success in understanding, respecting and reaching Faith Driven Consumers," said Faith Driven Consumer founder Chris Stone. "If 'Ben-Hur' is managed like their previous projects — which are the model of how to do this right — it could be the next 'Passion of the Christ,' which set the standard for Biblical box office performance."
Stone added Paramount "appears to have learned from its mistakes" with "Noah" (Faith Driven Consumer did not endorse Aronofsky's adaptation of the biblical story) by signing on Burnett and Downey.
"Ben-Hur" was adapted to film for the first time in 1925, reports Emma Koonse at The Christian Post. The 1959 film adaptation, which starred Charlton Heston, won 11 Oscars.
MGM and Paramount representatives said the newest "Ben-Hur" film will return to "the heart of Lew Wallace's epic novel focusing on the nature of faith" in a statement, according to Koonse.
"The story follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness," the statement said.
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