The 1959 Biblical Epic, Ben-Hur, starring Charleton Heston, may be the most well-known iteration of "A Tale of the Christ," but it wasn't the first, or even the most recent. There were versions filmed in 1907 and 1925, themselves adaptations of the 1880 novel. Additionally, there were more recent animated and televised miniseries versions. Now, Paramount Pictures brings us a new version, from director Timur Bekmambetov, best known for Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
While the Biblical Epic genre doesn't quite appeal to general audiences the way it used to, religious films are still big business. The Passion of The Christ is still domestically the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. It's a good bet that Paramount are hoping a similar mix of churchgoing and spiritually curious folks will flock to theaters for the return of such a big name in cinematic history.
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures, come two new TV spots and some UK character posters celebrating the film. Take a look at the first TV spot above and the second below.
Additionally, the posters below feature: Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as the film's hero, Judah Ben-Hur; Toby Kebbel (Warcraft) as the traitorous Messala; Nazanin Boniadi (Scandal) as romantic interest Esther; Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight) as Judah's partner, Ilderim; and Rodrigo Santoro (300) as Jesus, a.k.a. The Christ.
The footage in these TV spots appears to be recycled from the film's second trailer. It may be a preferable watch if you want to see the update to the incredible chariot race scene, but you aren't a fan of religious pop music. Plus, it's not every day you see a Jesus-themed character One-Sheet. Considering the original film never even showed Jesus' face, it's clear that this new adaptation is going in a wildly new direction.
However, is there even a chance that this new iteration will top the original William Wyler directed classic? The 1959 iteration won a record-setting 11 Oscars, tied only recently by Titanic and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It was voted onto the American Film Institute's list of Top 100 Greatest American Movies. So, it's unlikely that this new iteration will be able to match Wyler's classic in the annals of film history, but perhaps a fresh take will shed all new light on the subject material.
What are your expectations for this new "Tale of the Christ?" Does the creative team have what it takes to make this classic epic truly shine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, and stay tuned to Screen Rant for impressions and updates on the release of Ben-Hur.
Ben-Hur will release theatrically in the U.S. on August 19, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures