ROME — Because it’s set entirely in Rome, the Eternal City is a must-shoot location for Sony’s “Da Vinci Code” sequel, “Angels and Demons,” which rolls June 5.The soaring euro, however, and also Hollywood SAG strike fears, have limited helmer Ron Howard to just three tight weeks of essential exteriors in the Italian capital before retreating to Sony soundstages in Culver City. That said, the Roma & Lazio Film Commission is bending over backward to maximize the value of the shoot’s dollars for producer Brian Grazer, hoping to sustain Rome’s reputation in Hollywood as a film-friendly city despite the currently harsh currency factor. “Though Rome and ‘Angels & Demons’ are a natural fit, it is very important for us to prove to the production that we are willing to go out of our way to make it attractive to them in terms of services and incentives as well,” says commish topper Cristina Priarone. That means negotiating discounts of up to 60% for hotels, guaranteeing the lowest rates for equipment and transportation, and pitching in free 24/7 locations assistance. “What we can do is try to cut costs by negotiating the best deals with suppliers, and, given that time is money, we can further facilitate a smooth shoot by making sure they have all the permits they need, pronto,” Priarone says. In terms of cold cash, a key incentive Priarone is fine-tuning is a VAT reimbursement fund that should allow Grazer and Sony to get a quick 20% tax rebate.
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