Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted") is in talks to direct "Ben-Hur" for MGM, an individual familiar with the remake has told TheWrap.
While MGM and the "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" director have not reached financial terms, the studio is high on Bekmambetov's vision for its priority project, as the director is said to have a strong grasp on the story's themes of revenge and redemption.
MGM had no comment, while a representative for Bekmambetov did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sean Daniel and Joni Levin will produce the remake, while Jason Brown will executive produce with screenwriter Keith Clarke ("The Way Back"). Clarke adapted Lew Wallace's bestselling 1880 novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ," which is in the public domain.
Bekmambetov is currently weighing several projects as his follow-up to "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which flopped in the U.S., grossing only $37.5 million at the domestic box office. He previously directed Universal's hit action movie "Wanted" and the Russian blockbusters "Night Watch" and "Day Watch." Bekmambetov also produced sci-fi thrillers "Apollo 18" and "The Darkest Hour," as well as the animated film "9."
News of Bekmambetov's possible deal to direct "Ben-Hur" comes just weeks after it was reported that he had exited the historical drama "The Current War," which is being produced by Steve Zaillian's Film Rites banner. Director Ben Stiller is now circling the project, which chronicles the rivalry between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.
Bekmambetov has also been developing a long-gestating sequel to "Wanted," as well as a new take on "Moby Dick," though Ron Howard is about to start filming his own star-studded whale tale, "In the Heart of the Sea."
WME-repped Bekmambetov is preparing to produce Ilya Naishuller's "Hardcore," an action movie that will star Sharlto Copley and be filmed from his character's point of view.