Paramount Pictures’ and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ “Ben-Hur” is a spectacular, action-adventure in epic scale in the tradition of “Gladiator.” But more than that, it is a timely story of forgiveness, the very core of the original novel from which the film is based, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace.
In fact, although “Ben-Hur” has all the makings of a classic revenge epic, the aspect that endeared the project to the creative team was its redemptive themes.
“One of the last sentences Christ spoke was ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they’ve done,’” explains screenwriter Keith Clarke. “With his last few breaths, he forgave those who responsible for his death.”
“So much tragedy in the world can be averted by forgiving our enemies,” Clarke continues. “I’m a huge admirer of Nelson Mandela, because he was able to confront the people who had wronged him and forgive them. In the Middle East, conflicts have raged for generations because of the difficulty of saying ‘I know what you’ve done to me is horrific, but I forgive you.’”
Producer Sean Daniel says, “Regardless of your own personal faith, you will appreciate the profound and universal themes explored in the film.”
“If you watch this movie, and you’ve never read the Bible, you’ll enjoy story, the action and adventure,” says producer Roma Downey. “If you are a Christian, the film will mean that much more to you.”
“Ben-Hur doesn’t give you a message of faith overtly, but it is there to give you something to think about,” explains producer Mark Burnett. “It’s a message of hope that’s been part of this story since Lew Wallace wrote it in 1880. It’s a story that’s been told before, because it’s a story worth telling again and again, for this generation and for generations to come.”
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”), “Ben-Hur” is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title and separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.
Opening across the Philippines in August 17, “Ben-Hur” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.