Director William Wyler took on the project because he wanted to do a Cecil B. DeMille type picture.
By the time filming had finished, MGM's London laboratories had processed over 1,250,000 feet of 65mm Eastman Color film, at the cost of $1 a foot.
For some sequences in the chariot race, some of the chariots had three horses instead of four. This enabled the camera car to move in closer.
When the screenplay credit went to arbitration, the WGA accorded sole credit to screenwriter Karl Tunberg, despite Gore Vidal's rewrite and Christopher Fry's nearly year-long presence on set re-writing the script..
MGM offered Universal-International $750,000 for the loan-out of their contractee Rock Hudson. Hudson seriously considered accepting the part until his agent explained to him that the film's gay subtext was too much of a risk to his career.
Upon reading Karl Tunberg's original script, William Wyler had written in the margins "awful...horrible". Consequently, he brought in Gore Vidal - who was on contract with MGM at the time and hated being so - to rewrite the screenplay. Vidal also thought that Tunberg's script was dreadful and initially didn't even want to take on the project. He changed his mind when Wyler promised to get him out of the remaining two years of his contract. Christopher Fry then polished Tunberg and Vidal's work on the screenplay and wrote a new ending. Neither Fry or Vidal received screen credit for their work on the film, something which infuriated Wyler so much that he leaked the story to the press. |