Porta Palazzo, the summit of Mole Antonelliana, the streets of the center and much more. “at the sports bar” Released in the cinema exactly forty years ago, in 1983, it quickly became a cult. Shot in Turin, is a movie icon of an era that no longer exists among Totocalcio, all games on Sundays, radio stations, and 90° Minute. And on the set with Lino Banfi, Jerry Calla and Mara Venier, he was also there, Franco Barbero, better known as Phyllis, Banfi’s lecherous son-in-law from Piedmont. Which, forty years later, retraces those days, on set with the great Lino.
Said, really, Franco, first did you check it out “at the sports bar”?
“Just a few times after the movie. I was at home with friends, they insisted I see it. It’s a movie that will always be in my heart.”
In the movie she plays Phyllis, Banfi’s son-in-law. Piedmontese doctor, fiat worker. How did he get the part?
“I knew the production was shooting the movie in Turin but I never showed it. I was doing theater in those years. But director Francesco Massaro came to see one of my performances one evening at Gobetti’s. In the end he said to me: “Barbero, do you have an agent?” I said yes, to which Massaru replied, “Good, we want you in the movie.” But you know what’s the funny thing?
“I didn’t have to play Phyllis at all. My role was Walter, the waiter at the club where Banfi plays the winning card (the role was played by Tognella, ed.) ».
And what happened next?
“One day Massaro called me, saying:” Barbero, I haven’t found anyone to be Linus Piedmont’s son-in-law. Do you want to play it? This is where it all began.”
In the movie you mostly play at home. In which apartment in Turin were the scenes with Banfi filmed?
“We were not in Turin, this house is actually a movie that was shot in Rome. And I was at home in Rome, at that time I had a studio apartment, where I reclined when I had to go to the capital to shoot the movie ».
How did you feel about acting with Lino Banfi?
“It is not difficult at all, a professional banfie who makes you feel comfortable on set. Then I worked with him many years later, in 2000, in “Vola Sciusciù” ».
And outside of it, what was Banfi like?
“A very simple man, he was never on air. He didn’t want us to call him by his last name. “Call me Lino,” he always said to everyone.
Jerry Calla and Mara Venier were also in the movie.
“Jerry Calla was very nice. Mara Venere well a little bit ».
With what logic?
Mara didn’t give a lot of confidence. She was somewhat of a ‘lady’, in those years a friend of Jerry Calla and off stage she didn’t joke much with other actors. Of course, if one can say, she was truly “amazing,” one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.
Let’s get back to you, Phyllis. The dialect-speaking classic Turin, all home and fiat. Was it difficult to play with?
No, on the contrary, I had a lot of fun. Then my father was a nurse at the Mirafiori factory and then again at Iveco. I interpreted Phyllis’ character as she reflected on my father’s life stories. Fiat, “the fierce” as they called it at the time, is like family to me ».
Is there a scene from “The Sports Bar” that you’re closest to?
“It’s from feta, no doubt. When I say to Banffy: “Lino, let’s buy the feta”? After Banfi scored 13 in totocalcio. This scene is still a motto for me today. There are many people who remind me of her. Just to give you an example, two years ago a man came to fix the antenna at home. He asked me what my job was. I told him I was an actor and had starred in Bar dello Sport with Banfi. And this young man who wasn’t even born when the movie was released yelled, “Oh Lino, let’s buy the Alvita”? And the same thing happened in Rome one day on the tram with a gentleman ».
Regarding the famous Vita scene in particular. You mention this car in the movie, where Phyllis has Uno’s car which Banfi then sells. But Franco, in real life, what car did he have?
“I didn’t have an Alfa Romeo or even a Fiat Uno. When we filmed At the Sports Bar, I drove a Daimler, a car that has absolutely nothing to do with the other two.”
And football do you admire?
It’s funny to say that, because I remember a movie centered around the world of football. I never liked football, on the contrary. When I was a kid, I went to a game. Guys, definitely not from Serie A. At some point I got a ball in my face. At that moment I said: “Enough, no football. And I will never go to the field until I don’t get more balls.
And the totocalcio card, have you ever played it?
“Sometimes, but I never win, so I quit. I was not as lucky as Lino in the movie.”
Does it bother you to be primarily remembered for this movie?
“Nothing. I made my career, especially in theatre. I am a pupil of Macario, from whom I received some teaching. Even if, according to Macario, I should not have been an actor ».
“I was neither too tall nor too short, thin or fat, bald or long-haired,” said Macario. In short, I didn’t have a dominant advantage. But when he saw me act, he changed his mind.”
Did they pay you well for Phyllis’ part in the movie?
“Should I be honest? I earn more in theatre.”
“Lifelong beer expert. General travel enthusiast. Social media buff. Zombie maven. Communicator.”