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It's home to Rome for the chariots of Ben-Hur

Jack Huston

After much speculation about the main studio location for the major new remake of Ben-Hur, it seems that the chariots are racing once more in Rome, specifically at the legendary Cinecittà Studios.

Among the producers on the project – directed by Timur Bekmambetov – are Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the husband and wife team who run faith-based shingle LightWorkers Media.

The MGM feature stars Jack Huston (pictured) as the eponymous Jewish prince who becomes a Christian and chariot-racer while being held by the Romans at the start of the first century.

The film is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (the story of Jesus runs parallel to that of the fictional Ben-Hur), upon which the blockbuster 1959 version starring Charlton Heston was also based. Famous for having a ‘cast of thousands’, that iconic film was also shot at Cinecittà Studios and broke the records for the biggest  budget ($15.175m) and the largest sets of any film produced during that time.

Italy’s new ArtBonus programme, which was introduced in July, is today credited with drawing in more international productions – the scheme included a hefty rise in tax incentives for foreign filmmakers as part of the Cinema Tax Credit. Among those taking advantage of the current enticements is 007: the 24th in the behemoth Bond franchise is slated to film in Rome in early spring next year.

For more on filming in Italy, go to our country guide.