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James Bond: New ‘Spectre’ Pic Starts Rome Segment Shoot

ROME — New James Bond movie “Spectre” started the Rome leg of its shoot today amid preparations including cosmetic changes to the city’s Museum of Roman Civilization, which will stand in for a cemetery, and heavy cranes being installed to fish out one or more cars from the Tiber following a high-speed chase.

Set designers are at work attaching fake headstones to the museum’s marble colonnade after a religious order known as the Archconfraternity of the Departed vetoed use of the city’s Verano cemetary for a funeral scene.

The five-week Rome shot will also comprise a high-speed chase along the Tiber with one or more cars flying off into the river and James Bond parachuting from a helicopter onto the 15th century Ponte Sisto bridge. Other chases will reportedly be staged inside Rome’s historic center in the cobblestone alleys around the Piazza Navona, near the Trevi Fountain, and in the vicinity of the Vatican, where a Fiat 500 will reportedly get crushed, possibly in a crash with Bond’s Aston Martin DB10. Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, who worked on “Interstellar,” will make ample use of drone shots.

The Italian line producers are Enzo Sisti (“The Passion of the Christ”), Erik Paoletti (“The American”) and Roberto Malerba (“V for Vendetta”). Production offices are based at Cinecittà Studios, which has started luring more Hollywood shoots lately thanks to Italy’s generous 25% tax break for international productions, the cap on which was crucially raised to 10 million euros ($12.4 million) earlier this year.

Monica Bellucci on Sunday evening emerged from a vintage Aston Martin onto the set of pubcaster RAI talk show “Che Tempo Che Fa,” where the world’s oldest Bond girl recounted that director Sam Mendes described giving her the part as “being a revolution.” “A Bond girl who is 50 is interesting; it communicates a different and more respectful way of looking at women,” Bellucci said.

Mendes and the EON Productions, Sony/MGM production crew have descended upon the Eternal City from the pic’s alpine set in Solden, Austria, from which they released its first image (above) and behind-the-scenes footage on Feb. 11.

There have been reports that two crew members were recently injured on the Austrian set, during a high-speed racing car stunt in Innsbruck. Also, earlier this month, star Daniel Craig sprained his knee while filming a fight screen in Pinewood Studios, outside London, which did not appear to slow down production.

Principal photography started at Pinewood on Monday, December 8.

The 24th James Bond pic, being directed by Mendes, with Christoph Waltz, Bellucci, Lea Seydoux and Naomie Harris as key cast alongside Craig, is set for a global release via Sony on Nov. 6, 2015.

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