RAI ponies up for 'Pompeii'


ROME -- Italy's RAI Cinema is reported to have paid at least €10 million ($13.3 million) for Italian rights to the Roman Polanski thriller "Pompeii," outbidding Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset.

The thriller chronicling the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Roman times and based on the Robert Harris bestseller, tells the story of Marco Attilio Primo, a Roman engineer sent to Pompeii in the year 79 A.D., just days before the eruption.

The epic has a production budget of about €100 million ($133 million), according to Italian media reports. But it won't be made in Italy. Spain's Ciudad de la Luz will handle most of the production duties, though at least part of the film is expected to be filmed in Italy's Campania region, home of the Pompeii ruins.

Production will begin in August and is scheduled to last from five to six months.

RAI Cinema is the film production arm of Italian state broadcaster RAI.