EXCLUSIVE: MGM, Paramount and Timur Bekmambetov set a February 26, 2016, release date on an epic remake of Ben-Hur; have they found their chariot driver inTom Hiddleston? I hear that he’s the one the studios are courting to play Judah Ben-Hur in the adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, which was the biggest-selling novel of its time until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind.
Hiddleston isn’t being fitted for a toga just yet. He has other projects vying for his services, including the MGM pic Me Before You. Keith Clarke, who scripted the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back, wrote the script that MGM pounced on after that company got ambitious following its emergence from bankruptcy and huge hits in Skyfall and The Hobbit. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey joined Sean Daniel and Joni Levin as producers, with Clarke and Jason Brown exec producing. Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley wrote the last draft.
Guillermo del Toro pumped up the Hall H crowd with a first look at Crimson Peak.
"It’s a gothic romance," he said, adding that Legendary allowed him to make it the way he wanted: R-rated, violent, and beautiful.
Del Toro then showed the very first look at the film, still 18 months away from release. The creepy footage showed stars Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, and Charlie Hunnam slinking around an old Victorian mansion.
"Houses as old as this one, become in time, a living thing," star Tom Hiddleston said in voiceover. “It may have timber for bones but windows for eyes, and sitting here all alone, it can go slowly bad. It starts holding on to things. Keeping them alive when they shouldn’t be. Some of them good. Some bad. Some should never be spoken about again.
The cast was not present, but Del Toro promised he’d come back in 2015 and bring his stars with him.
According to “Joss Whedon: The Biography,” in stores August 1, Hiddleston, who plays antihero Loki in the film, wrote Whedon a heartfelt email after reading Whedon’s draft for the first time.
We’ve published Hiddleston’s letter in full along with Whedon’s response with permission from Chicago Review Press below.
I am so excited I can hardly speak.
The first time I read it I grabbed at it like Charlie Bucket snatching for a golden ticket somewhere behind the chocolate in the wrapper of a Wonka Bar. I didn’t know where to start. Like a classic actor I jumped in looking for LOKI on every page, jumping back and forth, reading words in no particular order, utterances imprinting themselves like flash-cuts of newspaper headlines in my mind: “real menace”; “field of obeisance”; “discontented, nothing is enough”; “his smile is nothing but a glimpse of his skull“; “Puny god” …
… Thank you for writing me my Hans Gruber. But a Hans Gruber with super-magic powers. As played by James Mason … It’s high operatic villainy alongside detached throwaway tongue-in-cheek; plus the “real menace” and his closely guarded suitcase of pain. It’s grand and epic and majestic and poetic and lyrical and wicked and rich and badass and might possibly be the most gloriously fun part I’ve ever stared down the barrel of playing. It is just so juicy.
I love how throughout you continue to put Loki on some kind of pedestal of regal magnificence and then consistently tear him down. He gets battered, punched, blasted, side-swiped, roared at, sent tumbling on his back, and every time he gets back up smiling, wickedly, never for a second losing his eloquence, style, wit, self-aggrandisement or grandeur, and you never send him up or deny him his real intelligence…. That he loves to make an entrance; that he has a taste for the grand gesture, the big speech, the spectacle. I might be biased, but I do feel as though you have written me the coolest part.
… But really I’m just sending you a transatlantic shout-out and fist-bump, things that traditionally British actors probably don’t do. It’s epic.
Whedon wrote back with a simplistic response:
Tom, this is one of those emails you keep forever. Thanks so much. It’s more articulate (and possibly longer) than the script. I couldn’t be more pleased at your reaction, but I’ll also tell you I’m still working on it … Thank you again. I’m so glad you’re pleased. Absurd fun to ensue.