Mark Burnett and Roma Downey sign on for Ben-Hur remake

Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur

Fresh from the success of The Bible, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are taking on their next biblical challenge in the shape of a Ben-Hur remake. 

The Charlton Heston classic will be retold by The Bible producers and Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov in a production slated for release in February 2016.

The 1959 version was produced by MGM and they will once again be behind the film, together with Paramount.  

Burnett and Downey enjoyed huge success with The Bible TV miniseries, bringing in The History Channel's highest ratings figures in 2013 when its first episode attracted 13.1 million viewers. 

Committed Christians themselves, the pair also succeeded in rallying the church in the US and the UK around the series and subsequent film version, Son of God, which went on to take $60 million at the box office.   

Ben-Hur remains a popular movie among Christians, telling the story of a Jewish prince wrongfully sold into slavery and determined to seek revenge, but who ends up being radically changed by his encounters with Jesus.  

In addition to starring Hollywood icon Heston, the 1959 version was epic in every sense, using more than 200 camels and 2,500 horses, as well as around 10,000 extras, and incorporating a chariot race sequence that has gone down in cinema history. 

The film was based on the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ, and MGM and Paramount have said the film will return "to the heart of Lew Wallace's epic novel focusing on the nature of faith".

Burnett and Downey said it would be "the most anticipated movie release of 2016".

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