Morgan Freeman films Ben Hur remake in Rome

Morgan Freeman films Ben Hur remake in Rome

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We can’t wait for 2016 to watch the new Ben Hur movie with Morgan Freeman, that just wrapped up filming in Rome, made by MGM, Paramount and Timur Bekmambetov.

Freeman plays the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.

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They’ve set a February 26, 2016, release date on the epic remake, that is based more closely on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ , the biggest-selling novel of its time until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind, rather than the 1959 William Wyler-directed film that starred Charlton Heston.

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This version plays up the parallel storyline of Jesus Christ, but the focus is the blood feud between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, who grew up best friends before the Roman Empire took control of Jerusalem. Judah Ben-Hur was a Jewish prince and Messala the son of a Roman tax collector. After the latter leaves to be educated in Rome for five years, the young man returns with a different attitude and mocks Judah and his religion. When a procession passes by Judah’s house and a roof tile accidentally falls and hits the governor, Messala betrays his childhood friend and manipulates the accident so that Judah is sold into slavery and certain death on a Roman warship, with his mother and sister thrown in prison for life. Judah vows revenge, culminating in the famed chariot races.

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Where did they film?

Matera and Rome

Matera is becoming a popular destination, as it’s set to become the European Capital of Culture,  and it’s where Mel Gibson filmed the ”The Passion of Christ” (2003)

A special stage was built at Rome’s Cinecitta studios, a 100-acre facility that has languished for decades, from its high in the 1960s, when it was known as Hollywood on the Tiber. The studio is seeking to bring in new revenue following the introduction last year of 25% tax breaks for foreign film productions.

Cinecitta is boasting a burst of biz prompted by these tax breaks.

MGM’s 24th James Bond film was also filmed in Rome between February and March 2015, high-speed car chases down the Eternal City’s narrow cobble-lines streets, and Bond parachuting down onto the ancient Ponte Sisto bridge on the Tiber.

Want to book a tour or discover more about Cinceitta? Then read our Blog post below about visiting these exciting sets.

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