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’12 Years a Slave’ co-writer John Ridley has come on board to write MGM’s new adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ,’ which in its time outsold every book but ‘The Bible’ until it was eclipsed by ‘Gone With The Wind.’ Ridley also directed and wrote the upcoming ‘All Is By My Side,’ the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000).
Sean Daniel and Joni Levin are producing the film with Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) directing. Jason Brown will executive produce with screenwriter Keith Clarke. The project began taking shape earlier this year when MGM acquired Clarke’s script, adapted from the 1880 novel. That story focuses on the years prior to those portrayed the 1959 film, centering on the characters Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem, and his childhood friend Messala, who returns home as a commanding officer of the Roman legions and betrays the Ben-Hur family.
According to The Wrap, Will Smith is attached to star in the supernatural thriller ‘Selling Time’ for 20th Century Fox. Smith does not have an official deal in place but he is apparently in the process of coming aboard. Coincidentally, he was attached to star in ‘Selling Time’ several years ago before scheduling conflicts got in the way. Several A-list filmmakers are now circling the movie, though no decision has been made yet.
The story follows a man who is given a chance to relive the worst day of his life in exchange for seven years off his life expectancy. The script was initially written by former DreamWorks Television president Dan McDermott, who will rewrite the script as part of his original deal. Several other writers have taken a crack at the project including Spike Lee and brothers Steven and Derick Martini. John Davis is producing the long-gestating project through his Davis Entertainment banner along with Jennifer Klein. Will Smith, who last starred in ‘After Earth,’ is currently producing the ‘Annie’ remake. He’s set to star alongside Margot Robbie in ‘Focus’ and will soon be seen in Akiva Goldsman’s directorial debut ‘Winter’s Tale.’
Deadline bring word that Drake Doremus is casting up his next film ‘Equals’ for an early 2014 start, and is reportedly eyeing Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult to be the young couple that anchors this science fiction tale penned by Nathan Parker (Moon). Doremus talked up the project while doing press for ‘Breathe In,’ the most recent film he helmed that stars his ‘Like Crazy’ heroine Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan. Expect more news about ‘Equals’ shortly.
Lucasfilm has announced that ‘Toy Story 3′ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ screenwriter Michael Arndt, previously pegged to script ‘Star Wars: Episode VII,’ is no longer a credited writer on the project. Instead, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams will tackle the screenplay. Here’s Lucasfilm’s press release announcing Abrams and Kasdan as the ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ screenwriters.
As “Episode VII” continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and serving as co-screenwriter for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams’ credits include “Super 8,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Fringe,” and “Lost.”
Dwayne Johnson has revealed on his Twitter account that he’s wrapped Brett Ratner’s‘ Hercules’ and is moving onto shoot ‘Fast & Furious 7′: “Intense 6 months of HERCULES to now Hobbs (Fast & Furious). Shooting starts now. #50ShadesOfAttitude.” ’Hercules’ also stars Golden Globe-winner Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and Academy Award-nominee John Hurt. Rounding out the main cast is Aksel Hennie, Rebecca Ferguson, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, and Reece Ritchie. Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) is directing the film.
Based on the graphic novel “Hercules: The Thracian Wars,” the ensemble-action film is a revisionist take on the classic myth set in a grounded world where the supernatural does not exist. The screenplay is by Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Everyone knows the legend of Hercules and his twelve labors. This story begins after the labors, and after the legend. Haunted by a sin from his past, Hercules has become a mercenary. Along with five faithful companions, he travels ancient Greece selling his services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, Hercules finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail… he must again become the hero he once was… he must embrace his own myth… he must be Hercules.
Following news earlier this week of the film’s delay, writer-director-star George Clooney’s ‘The Monuments Men’ has officially been moved to a February 7th, 2014 release. Co-written by Grant Heslov, the film’s stellar cast also includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and John Goodman. Based on the book ‘The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History’ by Robert M. Edsel, the film concerns the story of the “Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, an Allied group, tasked with saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler during World War II.
The true action-thriller focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.