Ben-Hur is a 2016 American epic historical action drama film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and written by Keith Clarke and John Ridley. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about it!
1.It is the fifth film adaptation of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Lew Wallace, following the 1907 silent film, the 1925 silent film, the Academy Award-winning 1959 film, and the 2003 animated film of the same name. It has been termed a “re-adaptation”, “reimagining”, and “new interpretation” of the novel.
2. The film stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer and Rodrigo Santoro.
3. In 2013, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired Keith R. Clarke’s script, an adaptation of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which is in the public domain.
4. In April 2014, Paramount Pictures and MGM announced that they would co-produce a new version of Ben-Hur, based on the novel, with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey serving as producer and executive producer, respectively.
5. John Ridley re-wrote the script based on an original screenplay by Keith Clarke which itself was based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
6. The studio approached him in October 2013 after he wrote the screenplay for 12 Years a Slave which went on to win an Oscar the following year.
7. Tom Hiddleston was originally considered for the title role, Judah Ben-Hur.
8. In September 11, Morgan Freeman was added to the cast to play Sheik Ilderim, the man who teaches Ben-Hur to become a champion chariot racer.
9. On February 2, 2015, MGM and Paramount Pictures announced that principal photography had begun and that, like the original film, filming would take place mostly in Italy, specifically in Rome and Matera.
10. The famous chariot race sequence which runs about 10 minutes, almost exactly the same as in the prior films was originally planned to be filmed in the Circus Maximus arena in Rome, however, producers were denied access by Italy’s national cultural authorities due to fears that the stunts would damage the fragile historic site, which was under restoration at that time.
11. The first remake of Ben Hur (1959) had won a total of 11 Oscars which is a still standing record for most Oscar wins (shared with Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). The first full length feature version of Ben Hur was made in 1925.
12. Gal Gadot was originally cast as Esther but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
13. Pedro Pascal was originally cast as Pontius Pilate but replaced by Pilou Asbæk.
14. Sofia Boutella, Moran Atias and Natalia Warner were considered for the role of Esther before Nazanin Boniadi was cast.
15. Olivia Cooke was originally offered role of Tirzah, Ben-Hur’s sister but Sofia Black-D’Elia was cast in the film.
16. Ben-Hur has received generally negative reviews from critics. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 31%, based on 98 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10.