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Protesters cut ‘Rubies’ production in Gotham

A March 26 protest by more than 100 Orthodox Jews shut down production on Miramax Films’ “A Price Below Rubies,” which had been lensing in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn.

A Miramax spokeswoman declined to confirm that “Rubies” would finish its last week of production in Chinatown.

Led by State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the demonstrators were upset about how the Hasidic community will be depicted in the film. Directed by Boaz Yakim, “Rubies” stars Renee Zellweger (“Jerry Maguire”) as a rabbi’s wife who defies him by taking a job in the diamond district. Christopher Eccleston also stars in the pic, which is being produced by Lawrence Bender and John Penotti.

Although they do not watch movies or television, the Orthodox Jews living in Borough Park are still concerned about how their culture is viewed by society. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told reporters that the city “makes a tremen-dous amount of money off the movie industry,” but “as far as the contents of the movie, you really have to stay out of that.”

Pat Scott, the Mayor’s Commissioner for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, said that her office had issued “Rubies” a permit to film in Borough Park. “These are public streets, but certain members of the neighborhood consider it to be a separate jurisdiction not subject to city and state laws,” she said.

A low-budget film, “Rubies” received concessions from Gotham’s unions through IATSE’s East Coast Council, which covers pics with budgets less than $6 million.

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