“Borutalco was everything to me. I had to prove that I’m an actor and a director by letting go of my characters. No more wiggles, gestures, and strange sounds. A strong story was needed and I found it: I started my career from there.” Forty years later, Carlo Verdoni retains a bond of affectionate gratitude towards his most beloved film: “It is nice that some scenes and lines remain in the memory. It gives a sense that you’ve hit the target, that you’ve given a bit of good humor to the audience all these years.”
How was the idea for the movie born?
«It was the idea of u200bu200bthe light and wonderful fairy tale, which represents the spirit of those colorful and very optimistic eighties, full of beautiful music like that of Lucio Dalla. The other issue was the inversion of the roles of men and women.
By what logic?
“In the film, the female character is more dynamic, stronger and more capable. Feminism everything had an earthquake: the old alpha male no longer exists, the man who arrived as Tognazzi, Sordi, Manfredi, or Gassman. There remained simulations as Manuel Fantoni: a lonely man, who spent an afternoon lying to a salesman in the statue of the “Colosse of Music”, a person who had nothing to do from morning to night! A somewhat miserable character, but very funny. And then it was me, with my foolishness.”
Is it true that the role of Fantoni should have been assigned to Vittorio Gassman?
«Yes, it was the idea of another screenwriter, Enrico Oldwini. Gassmann, with his slightly dimmed prosopope, seemed perfect. But I made films with unknown characters, with good actors, I was afraid that Gassman would be too huge a character. So I chose Angelo Infante, a good and generous actor: I am glad that he remained in the hearts of the audience with this character ».
What amazes you about Eleonora Giorgi?
“She was a beautiful girl, she did many comedies, some good, some less. I was looking for a character that was bright, sparkling and full of energy. I convinced myself that he was the right person. Then I got to know her better, thanks to the participation of her husband, Angelo Rizzoli, in the production. And I realized that she was just the girl next door, with the proper enthusiasm we needed.”
Then there is Mario Briga. Is it true that the story of the beatings of the two unfortunate people who gave tribute to their daughter was actually the story of a fight with Gordon Scott on the set of Buffalo Bill?
“Yeah, because on the set, Scott really punched him. So one day he bored Bariqa and said to him, ‘What are you serious about? So let’s see who will win.’” They began to fight and shouted at him: “I miss the blood you left me, cuckold, on guard!”. Then put him two. And he said to us, “My arms fell backward like Jesus Christ, he cried: My horned cedar.” He said it 50 times a day, he wanted us to understand that he’s someone you can’t joke with.”
Concept of “sta mano po” esse fero e po “esse feather” for “Bianco rosso e Verdone”.
“Exactly. That joke came to me on the highway. Barga did not want to say it, perhaps he did not understand it, but Sergio Leone was excited about it: “Tell him about it,” he insisted ».
In “Borotocalco” he made his debut with Moana Pozzi. Is it true that he met her from Troisi?
«Yes, that was the thousandth ‘catch’ of Massimo. I saw her with him one evening, she was beautiful, taut, bliss! Then I saw her a few days later in the apartment in Trastevere that we wanted to use as Georgie’s home: she was only wearing a pair of underwear. I asked her, “Are you having trouble with nude scenes?” He answered me: “But for heaven’s sake there is no one.”
But with Lucio Dalla he risked the end badly …
“His box was spinning because on the movie posters his name was as big as the title, double my name. So he went to the premiere in Bologna with a fighting spirit, then he started seeing people laughing, to understand that the movie was a tribute to him and at the end there was a big applause and everyone went to salute him and compliments The next morning he called me and said, “I forgive you, you made a great movie. Then we became friends.”
Why did a whole generation sympathize with the movie?
Because he captured the spirit of that period, its frankness, and its good and naive characters. We come from a period of high tensions, clashes every Saturday, and terrorist attacks culminating in the assassination of Aldo Moro. There was a desire to smile again.”
And there was also an unusual new generation of comedians: she, Troisi, Nuti, but also Benigni, somehow Moretti …
“Yes, it was a generation that wanted to give a boost to the Italian comedy that was struggling. We’ve all had great box office results. So the red light rooms are finally closed and re-opened are the real big rooms with numbers from the past.”
Sad to remember that day, in the time of Covid. Is there a future for theaters?
“I hope so, but it cannot be ignored that everything is changing. Broadcasting platforms are a reality.
There was also a great deal of freedom for comedians. How do you live today with the doctrines of political correctness?
Certain lines of ‘Borotalco’ can no longer be used. Today we have to make people laugh in another way. I agree on some principles, in others we exaggerate. There is a bit heavy American feminism and at times hypocrisy: this is the thing that bothers me the most. ».
Did Roma “Borotalco” and his first films also disappear?
“For there were no more Romans left, those who spoke from window to window.”
Those who said “well, instead of who falls into the ten” in “a lot of beauty”.
“Yes, those are. The true spirit of Rome, the spirit of Bailey, has been scattered in suburban barracks since the 1980s. Today it is a much more pessimistic and seedy city, with so much social envy, just read The New Social Work.”
Not to her, though: they seem oases of good feelings…
“I don’t care about likes, I write what I think, and tell my stories honestly. In the end people appreciate me for this ».
And now they know “La vita da Carlo” a little better. By the way: Did you expect the series to succeed?
“No, I was too scared! I was worried about the amount of work and never faced myself with this formula. But it went well, I bravely said to myself ».
The next movie?
“I’m ready to write, waiting for input from De Laurentiis and Prime Video.”
Is there a film or director in which you watched the Verdone moment “Borotalco”?
“Nobody. That’s my very Verdonian style.”
No heirs then?
“Not now, even if there are many good actors. But for heaven’s sake, may some young people come to take our place, otherwise cinema will die here! ».
Last update: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 08:47
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