Relationships with Rita Rusic and Valeria Marini, heritage, hospitalization: the former producer talks about himself, between film successes and series misfortunes
«Paraphrasing a film that I produced, I hope these are ‘my first 80 years’». Vittorio Cecchi Gori he still knows how to laugh, despite the aches and pains of age and the sorrows of a life that he defines as a film. The birthday is today, April 27th. In January had been hospitalized, he was still serving a cumulative sentence of eight years and five months under house arrest for the crash of the cinematographic Safin and Fiorentina, which was then suspended for health reasons: «The heart has made a fuss. Now I’m out of breath, I can do everything, but sitting down ». In the house in Parioli which belonged to the parents, looks at Rome from the windows: «Unfortunately, I had some benefits, but it was better not to have them, because it depends on my health conditions». The judicial troubles have cleared an empire made up of cinema, television, football. I ask: what errors do you recognize? “I had a role in 48 companies, something escaped me, but I didn’t realize I did anything wrong, I still don’t know what happened.” He sighs: “I only hope that the president Sergio Mattarella, so fair and serene, will grant me the honor of grace”. Most of our cinema was produced by Vittorio Cecchi Gori, in the beginning with his father Mario.
“Neapolitans in Milan. We shot it in ’52, I was ten. Eduardo De Filippo made me sit on his legs. I grumbled: Father, he’s got bony knees. ‘
“Silence by Martin Scorsese, in 2015. I also co-produced Scorsese The Irishman, with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, but I couldn’t go, I was sick. With America I continued to work because my companies were not affected by the bankruptcy there. The Americans still urge me to do something else. I have the script for the remake of the Overtaking, with Dino Risi’s son, Marco, and perhaps with Alessandro Gassman, who doesn’t like much. I’m on the Oscars jury, I hear the other jurors, remakes are all the rage. I just have to be okay, start moving again. I would still like to do a good film ».
How long do you miss producing?
«I always produce with my head. Everything I see, in my head, becomes a movie. Today, I woke up thinking about Carlo Verdone, I would like to remake My sister and I“.
Verdone, Risi, Benigni, Pieraccioni, Tornatore participated in the 2019 docufilm “Cecchi: Gori an Italian family”. Have your directors stayed close to you?
“I love them and I think they want me.”
Where did the first film have a big role?
“Brancaleone at the Crusades by Mario Monicelli, from 1970. E …Otherwise we get angry it was my intuition. My father did not understand: everyone said that Bud Spencer and Terence Hill without spaghetti westerns no one would see them. Dad had never paid me a compliment before. Many said to him: tell him once that he is good. And he: what, are you crazy? after, I don’t check it anymore! I also wanted to do the last film by Federico Fellini, I wanted to gain experience with the greats. Fellini’s joke to my father remains famous: you have always saved yourself, your son was needed to make me make a film with Cecchi Gori ».
Seeing his name in the family company, what satisfaction was it?
«I owe it to Sergio Corbucci and Monica Vitti, with I don’t know you anymore love1980. We were friends with Monica, how many films together … ».
How many films have you made in all?
«Even 90 a year between products and distributions. I still prefer movies to series: a beautiful film put on TV is unrivaled. I have reviewed Mediterranean by Gabriele Salvatores, is still relevant today ».
It is among the three Oscars he keeps in the bookshop, together with the «Postino» and «Vita è bella».
“I won it in my golden moment in America, where I had a home and credibility. I was good at promoting the film. Unfortunately I left Los Angeles: too tiring to go back and forth. Donald Trump told me to stay, maybe I was wrong ».
“I bought a house from him in New York, penthouse and super-penthouse on Central Park, like being suspended in a balloon, then I lost it in my own trouble. We made friends, he was overflowing, but he was a simple man, he understood everything immediately ».
Any other memorable encounters?
«Gabriel García Márquez. We were friends, I took him to Mexico City Tornatore who wanted to make the film from One hundred years of solitude, but the two did not take. Then, he got Fidel Castro to invite me to take film lessons in Havana. Gabriel was very nice. The grown-ups also have a daily simplicity that makes them magnificent ».
Other surprisingly simple greats?
“Bill Gates came to pick me up with his wife in the station wagon.”
What was she doing with Bill Gates?
“I met him at the Sun Valley Conference.”
The so-called «billionaire conference»?
“I went there for three years. I was working on a European paid content platform, long before Netflix and the like came along. Not being up to par as technical views, I worried that the screens you saw on were as big as those on televisions. With me and the Gates was the head of Warner. I said: I don’t believe that one sees a film on a mobile phone ».
On the other hand, did Gates believe it already?
“It was ahead. I, then, I was put out of the game through the courts.
In a press conference he said: “The order is to kill me.” Who ever wanted to take her out?
“Over time, things have become clearer. I had Tmc, I was creating the third TV pole, I had a share of what would become Sky, a huge film library and a football team, so I understood the importance of cinema and football TV rights. Instead, there was a struggle with generalist TV. They took everything away from me, for a small mistake compared to the breadth of what I was administering. But many events are open and I intend to recover something ».
How it occurred to her to say that the cocaine they found in the house was saffron?
“Who knows? Of course I didn’t think I would remain in history for the saffron joke ».
Of the other two Oscars, what do you remember?
«Benigni and Massimo Troisi were wonderful, they loved each other. I put them together in We just have to cry. They both wanted to break through in America: with Roberto we succeeded, with Massimo as well, but he didn’t have time to see him ».
He died as soon as the shooting of the «Postman» was finished.
«He had the Neapolitan mentality of De Filippo: the show continues. When he understood that he had to operate on his heart, he did not say it, he did not have an operation and wanted to continue the film. One evening, Verdone and I invited him to dinner and he didn’t want to come to finish dubbing. The next day, he left. ‘
In the documentary, Benigni says that, when he explained the subject of “Johnny Stecchino” to her, he undertook, he mimed it, but she slept all the time. Then, she opened her eyes and told him what needed to be changed in each scene.
“It used to happen when I lived in Los Angeles and, with nine hours of jet lag, I was always tired. I had perfected a technique whereby I listened by half-closing my eyes and it seemed that I was sleeping ».
A great one to whom you have been very attached?
«Vittorio Gassman was a second father, I was always attached to him. We used to go to play tennis, here, there. In America I had a great friendship with Jack Nicholson. Man Trouble he had to do it with Meryl Streep. She came to see me, very frightened, to tell me that she was pregnant. I uncorked the champagne to celebrate it. Meryl told everyone about it, making me known and liked by all of Los Angeles ».
He said his life is a movie. The most beautiful twist?
«The nicest is when I married Rita Rusic: I had Verdone and Enrico Montesano as witnesses. While the priest was celebrating, I saw them strut in blue robes and it occurred to me to have them make a film called The two carabinieri. I told him there while I was getting married. It was a success ».
Previously, the pink newspapers described her as “play boy who collects actresses, Maria Grazia Buccella, Maria Giovanna Elmi …”.
«Playboy is whoever does only that in life. I worked. And while I was working I knew actresses. Maria Grazia was my great love, it ended because we were young, but we are still friends. At Christmas 2017, she was the one who took me to the hospital with a heart attack ».
“I liked it so much. Mom said: I understand that you want to marry an actress, marry her, she is nice, she is beautiful. But we parted, it was a disappointment: I would have liked her to end up in another way ».
Really about Rita Rusic, his father said: is my son shoving that in his pocket?
“I was an only child, I was 40, consider the sentence in that context. I wanted to get married, couldn’t I go on doing what? I started a family, we have two extraordinary children, Mario graduated in Economics in America, Vittoria has shops in Miami. The marriage lasted 20 years ».
The chronicles report that it ended between fights and attempts at mutual strangulation.
“When people are known, gossip is inevitable and I’m sorry. I don’t hold a grudge against anyone, Rita and I have a good relationship ».
Did it bother you when it is said that it was you who discovered Pieraccioni or Panariello?
“I put it in production. She had played a part in Attila scourge of God, but being an actress wasn’t the way to go for a producer’s wife. I told her: give me a hand with society. And she has learned ».
Valeria Marini, five years together.
“It was a good story, a bit tiring. She used to come to sleep at six in the morning because she had spent an evening on the other side of the hemisphere. ‘
“I’m alone now. I have some friends. At 80, I need friendship more: it’s not that I start imitating myself ”
April 27, 2022 (change April 27, 2022 | 07:43)
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