BenHur Remake Announced

In one of Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense classics, tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) chances to meet wealthy wastrel Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) on a train. Having read all about Guy, Bruno is aware that the tennis player is trapped in an unhappy marriage to to wife Miriam (Laura Elliott) and has been seen in the company of senator’s daughter Ann Morton (Ruth Roman). Baiting Guy, Bruno reveals that he feels trapped by his hated father (Jonathan Hale). As Guy listens with detached amusement, Bruno discusses the theory of exchange murders. Suppose that Bruno were to murder Guy’s wife, and Guy in exchange were to kill Bruno’s father? With no known link between the two men, the police would be none the wiser, would they? When he reaches his destination, Guy bids goodbye to Bruno, thinking nothing more of the affable but rather curious young man’s homicidal theories. And then, Guy’s wife turns up strangled to death. Co-adapted by Raymond Chandler from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train perfectly exemplifies Hitchcock’s favorite theme of the evil that lurks just below the surface of everyday life and ordinary men.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

David Wyler is set to  remake the classic Charlton Heston film “Ben-Hur.” The announcement was made Wednesday, four days after Heston’s death.

Wyler, whose father William Wyler helmed the 1959 Oscar-winning feature starring the late Charlton Heston, is producing the new television version.

Christian Duguay (“Coco Chanel,” “Human Trafficking”) will direct the $30 million project, which will start lensing this year. The new version will be based more closely on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel than either the 1959 version or 1925 silent adaptation.

Wyler intends to skew the lead role younger, placing Ben-Hur in his mid-20s. It will also downplay the religious aspects of the source material.

“We want to look at the spirituality within the piece rather than directly relating it to a specific religion,” Wyler said. “It’s a very complex story. It’s been 50 years since my father’s version, and we think we can bring something new and contemporary to it in the same way that ‘Gladiator’ did for that genre.”

Extras: According to Gore Vidal, one of the script elements he was brought  to the re-write  of ‘Ben-Hur’ was the relationship between Messalah and Ben-Hur. Director William Wyler was concerned that two men who had been close friends as youths would not simply hate one another as a result of disagreeing over politics. Thus, Vidal devised a thinly veiled subtext suggesting the Messalah and Ben-Hur had been lovers as teenagers, and their fighting was a result of Ben-Hur spurning Messalah. Wyler went along with the subtext and discussed the idea with  actor Stephen Boyd however he insisted that Heston not be informed of the  plan.