And lo, the return of James Bond and the Hobbit will beget the return of Ben Hur. According to, the success of Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has so raised MGM's standing that it now plans to remake the 1959 blockbuster (a silent version, directed by Cecil B. DeMille, was also produced in 1925) that dominated the 1960 Academy Awards, earning 11 Oscars, including best picture, best director (William Wyler) and best actor (Charleton Heston.) Deadline, however, observed that the planned script by Keith Clarke, based on Lew Wallace's 1880 novel, is much different from the earlier screenplay and is more faithful to the book. Sean Daniel, who is set to co-produce the film with Joni Levin, told Deadline: It's one of the great stories of friendship and betrayal, and faith, that works in the context of a big onscreen action thriller for a global audience. Nevertheless, most moviegoers in 1959 were attracted not by the story but by the spectacle. It was billed as the most expensive movie ever made (it cost $15 million) at the time, and the famous chariot race reportedly took three weeks to film and employed 15,000 Italian extras.