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 Post subject: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:55 am 
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Prince Judah
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A few days ago, new member itsJudah24 asked about recasting Ben-Hur with different actors after it was mentioned that Charlton Heston might have been cast as Messala in Ben-Hur (on the Heston as Bad Guy thread). It took me a while to come up with different actors for the roles in Ben-Hur; I finally dreamed up a real all-star cast for the film and here is the revised poster in some alternate reality where Ben-Hur was a different kind of picture:
___ Image

The revised cast list:

    Judah Ben-Hur...........Burt Lancaster
    Esther....................Sophia Loren
    Messala...................Charlton Heston
    Quintus Arrius...........Jack Hawkins
    Sheik Ilderim.............Anthony Quinn
    Tirzah.......................Natalie Wood
    Miriam......................Patricia Neal
    Simonides.................Claude Rains
    Balthazar..................Ed Wynn
    Pontius Pilate.............James Donald
    Tiberius Caesar..........Jay Robinson
    Drusus.....................Sean Connery
    Sextus.....................George Baker


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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:41 pm 
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Damned Dirty Admin
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You had me at Sean Connery, man :) Would have been even more interesting to see him in a role prior to his James Bond movies, which would be another 3 years after Ben-Hur was out.

Nice work with the poster as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:09 am 
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Prince Judah
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Detective Thorn wrote:
You had me at Sean Connery, man :) Would have been even more interesting to see him in a role prior to his James Bond movies, which would be another 3 years after Ben-Hur was out.

Connery was the last addition to the 'new' cast (I thought of all the big roles first). I realized that in 1959 he was not yet a star - he was in a supporting role that year in Tarzan's Greatest Adventure for example - so I figured that it was entirely feasible that he would be in a small supporting role in an epic at that point in his career. Oh, and a Brit actor, too, as in the version in our reality. :sherlock:


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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:45 am 
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A great cast all the way around. I especially like Heston as Messala. I think he would've brought a darker edge to it than Stephan Boyd, although his was a great performance. Burt Lancaster would've made a fine Ben-Hur too, he certainly had the physique for it. Natalie Wood is an interesting choice; her career might've gone in a different direction had she been in this movie.


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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:29 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Thou art awesome, Chrysagon! I feel that now I should say, "My sword off to thee." The poster's great, but Sophia as Esther... My God! Then we have to rewrite her role, I hope. A new script with some strong-jawed lines for her will do.

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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:33 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Thou art awesome, Chrysagon! I feel that now I should say, "My sword off to thee." The poster's great, but Sophia as Esther... My God! Then we have to rewrite her role, I hope. A new script with some strong-jawed lines for her will do.

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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:43 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Well said, itsjudah24, well said... but you didn't have to say it twice.. :lol: now, some comments on my selections; my intent was to populate the 're-imagined' film with the biggest stars of that time - late fifties:

Lancaster was the easy choice; it's well publicized that he was the front runner for the role of Judah before Heston got it. But, Lancaster (or so it is written) didn't want the role on religious grounds - he was an atheist. That's hard for me to understand - actors usually don't turn down roles which don't agree with their personal/religious beliefs or they would really limit themselves as to their choices. So, who really knows at this point? Per IMDb trivia, other actors approached for the Judah role were Rock Hudson and Paul Newman, who also both turned it down for rather silly reasons. And, I just read in the book, ON-SCREEN OFF SCREEN MOVIE GUIDE by Ted Sennett, that Kirk Douglas wanted the role but Wyler offered him Messala (!) instead, and Douglas didn't want that. So, it might have ended up as starring Charlton Heston and Kirk Douglas, or... another Lancaster-Douglas film, like an epic version of Gunfight at the OK Corral! :D

I think it's safe to say that everyone in the industry knew this was gonna be the biggest film of the year so probably all the top male stars of Hollywood at that time had some connection with it, whether getting offers or looking into it. Personally, of all the other possibles, I feel Lancaster would've done best as Judah aside from Heston himself. Also, per IMDb trivia, Robert Ryan and Stewart Granger were considered for the part of Messala. There was a screen test with Cesare Danova as Judah and Leslie Nielsen as Messala, which showed how bad it could get; I think that Ryan & Granger would have also been wrong for the role. Ryan would've played against Lancaster if that happened. I'm not sure where Heston fit into all this when they were looking for an actor to play Messala; I just remember reading somewhere long ago that he was up for Messala when Lancaster was approached for Judah.

Sophia Loren popped into my head after I decided on Lancaster and Heston. I wanted to plug in a big female star rather than an unknown as happened in our reality and maybe I was thinking of El Cid and The Fall of the Roman Empire. Loren also has that exotic allure; I figured she could play a toned down female character if she had to. Quinn seemed a natural for the sheik role (see Lawrence of Arabia and others) and another big star, though not at Lancaster's or Heston's level (remember too, that Heston became an even bigger star after Ben-Hur not before it and that Lancaster had a few years on him). Natalie Wood was close to my last pick; I recalled that she was a rising young star at this point (before West Side Story, after which she was very big) and she was similar to the actress who ended up playing Tirzah, though even prettier.

Patricia Neal was also a late choice - still not sure about this one. I initially was thinking of Barbara Stanwyck but decided that she was wrong for the part. I kept Jack Hawkins as is. I've always thought that due to all the events surrounding Ben-Hur's casting, Hawkins ended up credited very high - 2nd - by default after Heston even though his was a small part. In other words, if someone like Kirk Douglas or Heston were cast as Messala instead of newcomer Stephen Boyd, Hawkins would be credited 3rd. So, this was a chance to see the cast list as it would be if some big stars ended up in the roles and Hawkins would be credited appropriate to the size of his role. Whew - being a casting director is a lot of work..! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Damned Dirty Admin
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Never read that about Kirk Douglas wanting in on this project. No wonder he fought so hard for Spartacus to be made. Pretty decent movie to lick his wounds, I have to say, even though it's not nearly as good as Ben-Hur is IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: Heston Films in Alternate Realities
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:39 am 
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Prince Judah
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What if RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK had been filmed and released 30 years earlier than when it was in our reality? That's the question asked by a creative YouTuber - James Byrne highlights this great old-style YouTube trailer at his Secret of the Incas site and it might have been posted in the Secret of the Incas thread here (haven't checked yet). But, it seems a natural for this alternate reality thread, complete with revised poster:
    _____________________Image
    _____________________


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 Post subject: RAIDERS OF THE OLD HESTON MOVIES!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:13 pm 
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El Cid
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 1138
Location: Lincoln, England
Chrysagon, thanks for posting the revised SECRET OF THE INCAS poster. That spoof of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1951 is a mini-classic, I wish that talented guy would actually make an Indiana Jones feature film using old clips from THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, SECRET OF THE INCAS and THE NAKED JUNGLE, and this time in glorious Technicolor.


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