Dear Timur Bekmambetove, Mark Burnett, MGM, or anyone who could help the Ben-Hur remake.
Ever since I heard that they where remaking Ben-Hur, I have also heard people say how Hollywood should let this movie alone. I am sure you have heard them too. Don’t listen to them. What they don’t realize is that the 1959 version WAS a remake, and a remake of a classic that had a huge fan base as well. I am sure there were people of their day saying you shouldn’t touch their classic. New generations need to know who Ben-Hur is! I am thrilled that you are doing another Ben-Hur movie. If you don’t mind, I have a few suggestions that I think would make this movie the best it could possibly be. I have also tested many of these ideas on some diehard fans of the 1959 version and they have said that if these suggestions were followed that they would be much more inclined to be excited about this film.
I am a fan of the novel. I love the 1959 version as well! Really, I even love the 1925 version. I have a few tips I would like to share first
Tip #1 – Start with the book, not the 1959 movie.
One fear I have is that you will look at the 1959 version and then try to take liberties from it. It is not the source material. Doing this would result in a story that is even further from the novel then the older versions of the story. My hope is that it will be closer.
Tip #2 – Aim High!
The movie you are remaking holds the record for most Academy Award wins. Shoot for that! This shouldn’t just be a good movie. This needs to be a great movie! Only the best will due. If you use CGI, make sure it is the best CGI out there. The costumes should be awe inspiring. Everything needs to be great. If I feel you at least shot for this quality I will tend to be more gracious. I don’t feel you need to win 11 awards… I just want to know you gave it everything you got!
Tip #3 – MUSIC
Something that both the 1959 and the 1925 versions had was spectacular music! The sound track was epic! It was triumphant! It was large! It was strong! It was not simply background music. The only composer that I know that is working today and can do music of this caliber is Hans Zimmer. That is not to say no one else can. I would give anybody you pick a shot. However, Hans Zimmer is someone you should be trying to get right now and everyone else should be a second choice. Also, I think it would be really cool to also let them do an overture like the 1959 version. I know it would probably only be for the album but I still would like it.
Tip #4 – Give us an old style movie poster!
I don’t mean make it look just like the old one. What I mean is, the 1959 movie had such an amazing movie poster. Painted, it was a work of art. Give us a work of art like movie posters used to. Don’t give us Photoshop non-sense. Give me something I want to hang on my wall!
Tip #5 – Do not add things if you had to take things out.
The BBC miniseries began with Ben-Hur racing Messala in a wagon as they were children. Why? The Novel didn’t do this. It is established through the return of Messala that they were childhood friends. It adds nothing for me to see them playing. In fact, many of my favorite aspects of the book were removed to make room for this scene that adds nothing to the story. Not to mention that it was corny seeing them race… as if they both always wanted to be chariot racers. The original story is fantastic! Stick to it!
Tip #6 – Make it two movies!
I will lay out my plan in Ben-Hur Part 3, but I really think that making this in two movies would be ground breaking for this story. It would give the viewers something they never saw before and it would take this remake out of the shadow of its predecessor.
I know these tips are not anything big. (well, besides #6) but these are things I would like to see. To find out more specifically about what I would do to make the story great, check out my post Ben-Hur Part 3 coming soon.