Ridley Scott’s Gladiator Sequel Production Over Budget – The Hollywood Reporter – TechVerdant

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Ridley Scott’s Very Expensive Roman Holiday

With accidents on the set, complaints about animal abuse and now reports that the production went wildly over budget, sources tell Rambling Reporter that Ridley Scott’s long-anticipated Gladiator sequel is leaving Paramount execs feeling a bit like Joaquin Phoenix’s Emperor Commodus — “terribly vexed.” Initially budgeted at $165 million, sources say that figure has ballooned to something closer to $310 million. (Paramount insiders insist the net cost of the 49-day shoot was under $250 million.) “It’s a runaway,” says one source. “It’s not being managed.” The strikes account for some of that money; the shutdowns starting in July reportedly cost $600,000 a week, or a total of about $10 million, until Scott resumed shooting in December (though there were reports he kept cameras rolling during the work stoppages, shooting extras at crowd scenes in Malta, where he built a Coliseum set). But even before the walkouts, Fortuna clearly frowned on this sequel, which stars Paul Mescal as a grown-up Lucius, the young royal in the original who worshiped Russell Crowe’s Maximus. A stunt gone wrong in June sent four crewmembers to the hospital with non-life-threatening burn injuries. Then in July, PETA sent an open letter to Scott filled with “whistleblower” reports about horses and monkeys being abused on the set, reports that sources close to the production deny, noting that the Humane Society was on site during filming. 

Jon Peters Cuts Check for Jan. 6 Hairstylist 

Beverly Hills salon owner turned insurrectionist Gina Bisignano — who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 wearing a Louis Vuitton sweater and Chanel boots, shouting into a bullhorn, “We need gas masks, we need weapons, we need strong, angry patriots to help our boys” — has a benefactor: Jon Peters. Rambling Reporter has learned that the reclusive film impresario — onetime head of Sony Pictures, erstwhile flame of Barbra Streisand and, most recently, self-proclaimed “Trump of Hollywood” — is partially underwriting Bisignano’s legal defense (after initially pleading guilty to six counts, she withdrew her guilty plea to the felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding and is scheduled to go to trial in August). In addition to writing her a $10,000 check in September (supposedly for “training” her two Brussels griffons), Peters cut her another check in December, Bisignano told associates, and she has confirmed to THR that Peters gave her “a big amount” to assist with her cases. Peters, of course, began his storied ascent as a hairstylist before producing such films as A Star Is Born, Flashdance and the Michael Keaton Batman pictures. His connection to Bisignano seems to stem as much from personal entanglements as ideological sympathy; she describes herself as close friends with Peters’ fiancé, actress Julia Faye West. Peters did not respond to a request for comment. — Samuel Braslow

Fury in Beverly Hills Over No-Remodeling Rule

You might want to hold off on that Amazonite Quartzite countertop. A Superior Court judge has put a halt to all new home improvement projects — from kitchen remodels to multimillion-dollar grotto installations — throughout Beverly Hills. The December decision from Judge Curtis A. Kin was clearly an attempt to push the affluent city into finally approving new housing for lower-income residents, something it has failed to do for several decades. Unsurprisingly, the edict has outraged many folks in the 5.71-square-mile burgh. “People are furious that a judge has the right to put a moratorium on residents on something that’s not their fight and not their fault,” says Aaron Kirman, a resident who represents properties across L.A. and appears on the CNBC real estate series Listing Impossible. “The reality is, Beverly Hills doesn’t have much land.” Housing advocates dispute that not-enough-room argument: “There are plenty of places to put [low-income housing],” notes Matt Gelfand, a lawyer for Californians for Homeownership, the group whose suit against the city led to Kin’s ruling. Beverly Hills is challenging the ruling. — Kevin Dolak 

How The Grill Kept the Great One on His Feet

For anyone dealing with a spouse who doesn’t know when to put down the bottle, restaurateur Bob Spivak shares a foolproof strategy, courtesy of legendary bon vivant and world-class boozer Jackie Gleason. In Spivak’s recent memoir, Saved by a Blonde & a Chicken Pot Pie, the Grill on the Alley founder recounts that the Great One — as Gleason was nicknamed — would often order “five or six” double J&B scotches “by the time dessert arrived.” But “unbeknownst to Jackie, our bartender and servers had a prearranged agreement with his wife, the dancer Marilyn Taylor. While the first drink was a true double, the second one was quarter water, by the third drink it was half water and by the fifth drink it was water with a splash of scotch.” How sweet it is! — Julian Sancton

This story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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