As the ‘Ben-Hur’ remake gets underway, the filmmakers hoped to film near the Colosseum at the Circus Maximus in Rome but it looks like that won’t be happening.
Italy’s Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini has blocked the production from renting out the Circus Maximus which would most likely be used to recreate the iconic chariot race from the original movie. The production looks to have wanted to use the space for two weeks, making the City of Rome angry about the block.
“In two weeks of shooting we would have had an income of about one million euro,” a city spokesperson told Italian media (Translation from Italian)
The decision to stop production from taking place there came directly from the office of the Minister of Culture causing the city to lose out on a possible $1.1 million USD payday.
Renting out the Circus Maximus isn’t a new thing with the Rolling Stones renting out the monument for a concert last year. Reports say that they rented it out for €8,000 ($11,100) and the concert went on to gross more than $8.3 million. This prompted outrage from citizens over the low rental fee, causing a huge spike in the price. If the ‘Ben-Hur’ production did intend to rent the location for two week, they would have to pay more than $78,500 a day.
Also archeological experts speculate that a chariot race in the fragile site could potentially cause major damage to the monument. This isn’t the first time in the last few months that a production has been halted from filming around historic monuments due to the potential of harming them.
After the production of the latest James Bond movie ‘Spectre’ moved to Rome to shoot a car chase, the city stopped them from filming a segment near the Baroque Quattro Fontane. While a staging of the scene deemed that there was only a 1 percent chance of damaging the four fountains, the city thought that it wasn’t worth the risk.
The ‘Ben-Hur’ remake is currently filming at Cinecitta studios and the chariot race will not be filmed there according to THR. The original movie was shot at the same studio in 1957 where the production took two years to complete. The iconic chariot race was a three month long process and went on to win 11 Academy Awards and is credited with saving MGM from financial collapse.
Do you think that they should be allowed to film at the Circus Maximus? Should they even be remaking such a classic in the first place?
‘Ben-Hur’ comes to theaters February 26, 2016 and stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Rodrigo Santoro, Toby Kebbell, Moises Arias, Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, Pilou Asbæk, and Sofia Black-D-Elia.