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Julia Roberts Begins Filming in Bali

Village Demonstrators Seeking Compensation from Filmmakers Mar Start of Bali Filming of 'Eat Pray Love.'

(10/23/2009) Oscar-winning Hollywood star Julia Roberts has arrived in Bali for what is expected to be a month-long filming of the Bali portion of Elizabeth Gilbert's novel "Eat Pray Love."

Gilbert's best-selling autobiographical recounting of her post-divorce travels in Italy, India and Bali is to become a Columbia Pictures (Sony) film starring Roberts, Javier Bardem and Richard Jenkins.

Bali filming is centered on areas in and around Ubud and Bali's southernmost beach with cast and crew staying in various five star hotels on the island.

Filming got off to less than a smooth start on Thursday, October 15, 2009, when the villagers of the village of Benyutung demanded Rp. 200 million (US$20,000) in compensation for the use of their village in the film. This demand, according to local press reports in Bali, was precipitated by rumors of large sums being paid to other Bali locations being used in the film.

The Regent of Gianyar, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati (Cok Ace), is reportedly mediating local villagers' demands with the film's production team.

Filming is also scheduled to take place in Ubud's famous monkey forest in Padangtegal, Nyuh Kuning, Pengosekan and the traditional art market in Ubud.

Cok Ace, who is also the leader of Ubud's royal household, has issued a special invitation to Julia Roberts to his Palace for dinner. It remains to be seen, however, if the notoriously reclusive star will set aside time on her schedule for visits with Cok Ace or Bali's governor.

Those hoping to steal a look at Julia Roberts or a Hollywood film in production may be disappointed. Elaborate security perimeters are being set up at filming locales that keep the general public at a minimum distance of 500 meters.