“What do you think?” asks George Clooney after shooting a scene for the Bible-movie-within-the-movie in the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!. “Is that enough awe?”
“Yeah, maybe a little more wonderment?” replies co-director Ethan Coen.
So begins a collection of behind-the-scenes footage that went online two weeks ago.
The scene they’re shooting is a parody of a classic moment from Ben-Hur, in which a pushy Roman soldier is stopped dead in his tracks by the sight of Jesus.
The face of Jesus himself stays hidden from the camera, so the dramatic power of this scene (and its parody) rests with the actor who plays the Roman soldier — and what was dramatic in Ben-Hur is, of course, played for laughs in Hail, Caesar!
Here is the scene they’re spoofing (the key moment starts at the 2:36 mark):
And here is the B-roll that begins with Clooney shooting his spoof of that scene:
Here is another B-roll that overlaps with the first one:
What intrigues me is the fact that the face of the actor playing Jesus is hidden from the camera even in this behind-the-scenes footage, just as it is hidden within the film.
I discussed this scene, and others like it, in my review of Hail, Caesar! Read it here.