Tom Hiddleston may be taking on a role that could dwarf the status of his villainous Marvel character Loki. MGM, Paramount and director Timur Bekmambetov are moving forward on their planned Ben-Hur remake, and they’ve set their eyes on Hiddleston to play the lead role. Deadline broke the news, stating that though the actor hasn’t been locked in to play Judah Ben-Hur quite yet, he stands as their ideal choice.
The film is to be a new adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, which tells the story of a nobleman who is betrayed and sold into slavery. Ben-Hur vows revenge, eventually leading to him facing off against his enemy in the famous chariot races. It’s an epic story, no doubt made all the more layered with the parallel storyline involving Jesus Christ.
Timur Bekmambetov, known for directing Night Watch, Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, is to helm a version that is reportedly more closely related to the novel than William Wyler’s 1959 film. Charlton Heston starred in Wyler’s huge outing, which was itself a remake of the 1925 silent film. The Heston-starring epic, reportedly the most expensive movie made at the time, was the first film to win 11 Oscars, a feat made even more impressive when you consider that there were only 12 categories in 1960.
MGM have been taking their time with this one, determined in their attempt to recapture their previous success with the public domain novel. The studio jumped on the screenplay by Keith Clarke, who penned Peter Weir’s The Way Back, when they were experiencing a resurgence with Skyfall and The Hobbit. The last draft comes by the way of John Ridley, who took home an Academy Award for his 12 Years a Slave screenplay.
Tom Hiddleston, most recently seen in Muppets Most Wanted, will next be starring in Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise.
MGM’s latest version of Ben-Hur has been given a release date of February 26, 2016, so they’ll no doubt be wanting to lock Hiddleston in as soon as possible. We’ll let you know what they decide.