Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of Ben-Hur has apparently finished shooting exteriors in southern Italy and has now moved on to the next phase of its production: a four-month shoot at Cinecitta Studios in Rome. This is the same studio where the famous 1959 version of the story starring Charlton Heston was shot.
The producers had apparently tried to shoot part of the new film at the real-life Circus Maximus in Rome, but they were turned down by the Italian government due to concerns that shooting a film there could damage the archaeological site. It is not clear whether the filmmakers had planned to use that location for the main chariot race, which is supposed to take place in Antioch, or if they were planning to shoot one of the earlier races that Judah Ben-Hur takes part in while he is still living in Rome.
Meanwhile, Roma Downey, who was brought in as an executive producer on Ben-Hur, has mentioned the film a few times while promoting A.D.: The Bible Continues.
Speaking to Dan Wooding of the ASSIST News Service, she said:
I just returned at the end of this week from Matera which is in the south of Italy where we were filming the crucifixion — the third crucifixion of my career. I have to say that even though we’re doing a recreation and the blood is false and we create a perch that the actor can get up on the cross with even in the recreation the cruelty, the horror of the scene never ceases to shock and move me. But it’s going to be an amazing production set for release Spring of 2016.
And speaking to the Irish Voice, she said:
My kids when I told them we were teaming up with MGM and Paramount to produce Ben Hur said, Ben who? That made me know it’s time. This new generation of movie goers will get to see it reimagined on the big screen in spectacular ways.