How we made Cleopatra

Actors from the lavish 1963 classic recall bedlam on set, Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor romance ... and paparazzi galore

Jacqui Chan, actor

By the time I was cast as Cleopatra's handmaiden, the whole production had moved from London – where the cold weather had affected Elizabeth Taylor's health – to Rome. Filming restarted from scratch, the script was rewritten and much of the cast replaced. I was unaware of all that behind-the-scenes chaos, but being on set was bedlam. There were hundreds of extras, who had to be lumped together by nationality so the assistant directors could address them en masse in their own languages. It was all a bit crazy.

The sets were as lavish in real life as they appear on screen – no wonder the budget soared out of control. I wore an antique headdress made of beaten gold and coral that belonged in a museum. Whenever my shoot

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