007 production moves to Rome with oldest Bond girl, Bellucci
ROME (AP) After surviving the Sony hack, production for the new James Bond thriller "SPECTRE" has moved to Rome, where crowds are gathering to catch a glimpse of 007 and the oldest Bond girl yet, 50-year-old Monica Bellucci.
Daniel Craig, 46, and Bellucci have been seen around town in recent days as filming has taken them from the cobble-stoned streets of the historic center out to the Mussolini-era modern EUR neighborhood.
The main thoroughfare of central Rome, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, was closed to traffic early Tuesday for a nighttime car chase scene featuring Bond's silver Aston Martin. Another chase took place along the bike path on the banks of the Tiber River.
Details of the plot of the Sam Mendes-directed film had been a well-guarded secret until Bond producer EON Productions acknowledged in December that an early version of the script was among material stolen in the Sony Pictures cyberattack. Details have since circulated online.
Nevertheless, curious Romans have come out in droves to take in scenes of the 20-day shoot, which followed an initial one in London.
"I hope to see James Bond. Someone told me that there is also Monica Bellucci," said Floriana Sacco, 36, as she watched an apparent funeral scene being shot outside EUR's civic museum. "We hope that as all other film settings in Rome, it will be beautiful and it will be good publicity to this beautiful city."
City officials expect as much as 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in permit fees alone, and that the total boost to the Eternal City could be several times that given the extras, security guards, film crews, catering services and hotels being used.
Rome's historic center has provided the backdrop to several major motion pictures in recent years, including Woody Allen's 2012 romance "To Rome With Love," and Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 "The Great Beauty," which went on to win an Oscar for best foreign film.