As the sun shone on the day of inauguration of Cinecittà World entertainment park, Rome, last April 2, we met with Italian comedy idol Carlo Verdone, chosen to call the first action with the clapperboard at the park. Leading character of tons of cult Italian films, he is considered by many the heir of his good friend and late Italian star Alberto Sordi.
Carlo, why did they choose you to inaugurate the park for the newest season?
I was very flattered when Luigi Abete called me to the task, both because we are good friends and because of my love for Cinecittà… even if my alarm went off at 6 this morning! (laughter) In these studios I made three films in the ‘80s, and back then there was a rustic, almost abandoned sense of these places, like it was about to shut down; and that was before the new management took over, headed by Luigi who has now created this great theme park, full of sets and scenes made almost entirely by our Oscar winner production designer Dante Ferretti. I hope with my presence I can bring the park some good luck too!
What’s your favorite pavilion in the park?
They’re all great, I wouldn’t say there’s one I like best. Knowing they were designed by Dante Ferretti makes them all equally fantastic.
Do you think a movie can be filmed here?
I really don’t think so, it’s more like pure entertainment, cultural even, which tells of the many years of Italian cinema history, where the visitors of the park can have a really good time.
What’s your impression of Italian cinema abroad in these years of international fame?
Italian cinema needs to be safeguarded and followed more. I really have never travelled as much as in these past few months, especially to Northern Europe where I presented with success the film Sotto una buona stella. That made me realize we need to promote our films more on an international scale, presenting them to festivals, because there may always be someone interested in them. It is a lot of work, but definitely worth it if we want our productions to be seen and appreciated. Unfortunately I must say many actors and producers are too lazy, they settle for National TV rights, and that harms them.
Do you think what happened with Pirates of the Caribbean and the theme parks can help Cinecittà World too in promoting the entertainment film genre?
I find that hardly possible. It is not our genre. I think American productions alone can afford making films of that kind. It is not in our DNA. What we do have is the skills and creativity to make great films with less. Big productions were fine as long as we had Sergio Leone, Blasetti etc, but know other than Tornatore, a director who thinks big, no one else can stretch to that extent.
I still don’t have a title to give you, but this I can say: my partner is Antonio Albanese and the movie itself is going to be a bit different from my previous ones, no melancholy but a lot of adventure. It will air in January. I hope I can tell you more in the next days.
Carlo is there anything you want to say to Moretti, Sorrentino and Garrone presenting in Cannes?
I wish them the best of luck, I’m happy they are representing Italian cinema. They all deserve it.
Unlike what was thought not long ago, Cinecittà is once again the scene of great productions such as the ones being filmed at this time, Ben-Hur and Zoolander 2. With that bringing back the prestige of the Italian film industry as well as giving work to over a thousand people. Last week we flew to Los Angeles to promote our Studios and sign contracts with two American productions. In such an important moment it is critical to avoid any negative comment on the Italian film-making situation which may set back a growing spurt.
We continue our tour in the park to see what’s new this year and enjoying this atmpsphere full of history and fun.
Compared to last year this visit is more interactive, with many new events and live shows that recall the world of cinema located in different theaters of this park enriched with new incredible scenographies.
Very successful are the Magician’s house and The sheriff’s office in the beautiful western town, already full of parents and children waiting for the spectacular show of the riding stunts!