NINE by Charlotte Chandler, author of I, Fellini
Federico Fellini told me that the theme of his life and of his work was "dreams are the only reality."
"No one ever perceives the real world," he said "Each person simply calls private, personal fantasies the Truth. The difference is that I know I live in a fantasy world. I prefer it that way and resent anything that disturbs my vision.
"My films are often based on my dreams. When I wake up, I put them down as funny little drawings.
"For me making films is making love. I'm most alive when I'm directing. But before I started making 8½, something happened to me which I always feared could happen, and when it did, it was more terrible that I could ever have imagine. I suffered my greatest fear, director's block.
"Director's block is like writer's block, except that it's public rather than private. My 8½ crew called me 'the magician,' but the film I was going to make had fled from me. I considered abandoning it, but I could not let all of those people down who believed I was a magician. It came to me that I should make a film about a director who has director's block.
"It had been said that my films are autobiographical. True. I often use something that really happened to me.
"When I was about seven, my parents took me to the circus, and I had the strong feeling that I was expected there."
I know Fellini would have been highly complimented by the choice of Daniel Day-Lewis to play Guido in NINE. Since the character in NINE represents Fellini, I can imagine Federico saying something like, "Such a fine actor, so good-looking…so thin."
Guido, in both 8 ½ and NINE, while being inspired by Fellini, is only part of the real man. In life, Fellini was rather shy and self-conscious. In his imagination, he could be Guido. As Marcello Mastroiani, and now Daniel Day-Lewis, Fellini was vicariously able to be the character of his imagination without upsetting his less turbulent personal life with his devoted wife and star, Giulietta Masina. "I am her best director, if not her best husband," he told me.
Fellini would have appreciated the actresses chosen to be the women in Guido's life - Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Judi Dench. Fellini was not the Casanova he sometimes was rumored to be, he, himself, having spread the rumor. "I have a playfully adulterous mind," he told me. "In my mind, I never get tired of living out my sexual fantasies. In life, they would interfere with my work."
Fellini would have been extremely pleased and certainly rather amused to lean that Sophia Loren was playing his mother. She was his choice to star in JOURNEY WITH ANITA, a film he never made. Anita was a girl with whom the story's director has a brief fling. The film eventually was made by another director, with Goldie Hawn playing Anita. In real life, Goldie Hawn is the mother of Kate Hudson, one of NINE's stars.
Fellini never saw the stage version of NINE on Broadway (he hated flying), but he was pleased by the idea that his films were enduring, and that both 8½ and NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (which became "Sweet Charity") were the basis of musicals delighted him. He had grown up loving the Hollywood musical, particularly those of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, who inspired his film, GINGER AND FRED. I'm certain that Federico would have appreciated that NINE is in the tradition of the great Hollywood musicals without imitating them. Music was always important in Fellini's films and he would have been thrilled that Rob Marshall was at the helm. His direction is never intrusive and always in control.
Rob Marshall has given us the definitive homage to Fellini, always in the spirit of the great Italian director yet never imitating him. I think that Fellini would have been especially pleased by NINE because it is not a re-make of 8½, but a true homage, which stands on its own. I can't speak for Federico, but I can hear him saying, as he often did, "What do you think, Charlottina?"
I almost saw 8 ½ with Federico. During one of my visits to Rome, I was told by Fellini that a small theater was showing the film, many years after its release, and we rushed right over only to find a decrepit cinema, mutilated print, ancient projectors and miserable sound. Except for a snoring man and an attentive dog who seemed to be enjoying the film well enough, the theater was empty.
Fellini rushed out in panic, calling back to me, "You can stay if you wish. I ran out, following him, to Cafe Rosati, to drown our sorrows in coffee and patisserie. That was the day I almost saw 8½ with Federico Fellini.
I knew Fellini well enough to know that he would've slid down into a theater seat to see NINE and he definitely wouldn't have left. Sliding down in the seat was left over from his childhood spent at the Fulgar Cinema in Rimini when he saw a film he truly enjoyed and didn't want his mother to find him, and drag him away.
I wish Fellini could have been here to speak for himself about NINE and I know all of you wish it, too.
I believe Federico would have paid this film of NINE his highest compliment. He would've called it "Felliniesque."
Fellini's life exceeded even his dreams. "Life is the combination of magic and pasta," he told me, so I believe he would have suggested that after you've seen the magic of NINE, you go out and have a meal of delicious pasta.
ROB MARSHALL / Director, Producer, Choreographer
Rob Marshall is director of the Academy Award winning films CHICAGO and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. For his work on CHICAGO, winner of six Oscars including Best Picture, Marshall received the Director's Guild Award, an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe Award nomination, a BAFTA nomination, The National Board of Review Award and the NY Film Critics Online Award, both for best directorial debut, as well as the American Choreography Award. MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA was the winner of three Oscars, three BAFTA Awards, a Grammy and a Golden Globe.
Marshall's most recent credit was the NBC television special he executive produced, directed and choreographed: TONY BENNETT: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. He won his second Director's Guild Award for this production and three Emmy Awards for Direction, Choreography, and Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. He directed and choreographed Disney/ABC's critically acclaimed movie musical ANNIE, which received 12 Emmy nominations and won the prestigious Peabody Award. For his work he received an Emmy for Choreography and an American Choreography Award.
A six-time Tony Award nominee and George Abbott Award winner, Marshall co-directed and choreographed the world-wide award-winning production of "Cabaret" and directed and choreographed the Broadway revival of "Little Me," starring Martin Short. He made his Broadway choreographic debut with "Kiss of the Spider Woman," directed by Harold Prince, which also played London's West End and Vienna. He followed that with productions of "She Loves Me": Broadway, London; "Damn Yankees": Broadway, National Tour, London; Blake Edwards' "Victor/Victoria": Broadway; "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum": Broadway; "Company": Broadway; and "The Petrified Prince": NY Public Theater and "Promises, Promises": City Center Encores! Additional choreography credits include the feature film THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, the Disney/ABC movie musical CINDERELLA (Emmy nomination), the CBS movie musical MRS. SANTA CLAUS (Emmy nomination), and THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS (Kander & Ebb and Chita Rivera tributes).
He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.
JOHN DELUCA / Producer, Choreographer
John DeLuca was Co-Producer, Second Unit Director, and Choreographer of the Academy Award winning film MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and Supervising Choreographer and Second Unit Director of the Academy Award winning film CHICAGO, His most recent project was the Emmy Award winning NBC television special TONY BENNETT: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. He won 2 Emmys as Executive Producer and as Choreographer.
DeLuca choreographed the Spielberg film THE TERMINAL, THE 75th ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS, Kennedy Center Honors, and on Broadway, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!," "Minnelli on Minnelli," as well as directed and choreographed "Broadway Sings Elton John" and "Deborah Voight on Broadway." Other New York credits include: "Sweet Adeline" (Encores!), "Two Gentlemen of Verona" (The Public). National Tours: "The Boyfriend," "Chita and All That Jazz," "Brigadoon" and "Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music of the Night."
DeLuca has coached lead performances in many Broadway shows including Natasha Richardson in "Cabaret," Rosie O'Donnell in "Seussical, the Musical," and Donna Murphy in "The King & I."
He has also received the American Choreography Award and the American Musical Theatre Award and is a graduate of Boston University.
MICHAEL TOLKIN / Writer
The New Yorker called Michael Tolkin "an L.A. Antonioni with a sense of humor." In Artforum he was called, "The only American filmmaker working near the level of Pasolini and Kiezlowski." As a writer/director, his two films, THE RAPTURE and THE NEW AGE, were opening night selections at the Telluride Film Festival. As writer/producer, he is best known for THE PLAYER, for which he won the Writers Guild Award, the British Academy Award, the Chicago Film Critics' Award, the PEN Center USA West Literary Award, and the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best crime screenplay.
He was also nominated for an Academy Award. As one of the film's producers he was awarded the Golden Globe, the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Independent Feature Project Spirit Award for best picture of the year. THE RAPTURE, 1991, starring Mimi Rogers and David Duchovny, was nominated for three Spirit Awards. He has also co-written four films, the HBO movie, THE BURNING SEASON, starring the late Raul Julia and directed by the late John Frankenheimer, for which he shared the Humanitas Prize and an Emmy Nomination; DEEP COVER, starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum; DEEP IMPACT, a Dreamworks co-production with Paramount Pictures, and also for Paramount, CHANGING LANES, which was named Best Picture of the Year by Catholics in Media.
His books, all published by Grove/Atlantic Books include The Player, Among The Dead, Under Radar, all of which have been translated around the world, and The Player, The Rapture, The New Age: Three Screenplays by Michael Tolkin. His fourth novel, The Return of The Player, was published in the fall of 2006 by Grove/Atlantic. The Player and Among the Dead were translated into Spanish.
ANTHONY MINGHELLA / Writer
Anthony Minghella's film THE ENGLISH PATIENT, which he wrote and directed, won nine Academy Awards in 1996 including Best Picture and Best Director. Based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje, the film starred Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Kristin Scott Thomas and Willem Dafoe and was honored with 30 film awards overall, including two Golden Globes, six BAFTA Awards, the Writer's Guild Award for Best Screenplay and The Scripters Award for Best Director.
Minghella went on to win the 1999 Best Director Award from the National Board of Review for his film THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, based on the classic crime novel by Patricia Highsmith and starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. In 2000, Minghella was named by American Theater owners as ShoWest's Director of the Year.
COLD MOUNTAIN (2003) starring Jude Law and Nicole Kidman adapted by Minghella from the novel by Charles Frazier received seven Oscar nominations, seven Golden Globe Nominations and eleven BAFTA nominations. Renée Zellweger won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Ruby.
Minghella's first film as a writer/director, TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY, starred Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman and won over audiences in Britain and America, receiving several prizes including a BAFTA and a Writer's Guild Award. Minghella also directed MR. WONDERFUL with Matt Dillon, Mary Louise Parker and William Hurt.
Anthony Minghella was born in 1954 on the Isle of Wight of Italian parents. Until 1981, he lectured on drama at the University of Hull. His stage plays are "Child's Play," "Whale Music," "A Little Like Drowning," "Two Planks and A Passion," "Made in Bangkok" and "Love Bites." Minghella's television trilogy WHAT IF IT'S RAINING? was acclaimed throughout Europe. He created and regularly contributed to the television series INSPECTOR MORSE, and wrote all nine of the short television films in THE STORYTELLER series for Jim Henson and NBC, which won an Emmy and BAFTA Award as well as the Gold Medal at the New York International Film and Television Festival. Minghella's radio plays include "Hang Up" and "Cigarettes and Chocolate."
Minghella was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Hull and the University of Southampton. In 2000, he partnered with Sydney Pollack as joint-owner of Mirage Enterprises serving as executive producer on the company's films THE INTERPRETER, THE QUIET AMERICAN, IRIS, MARGARET and MICHAEL CLAYTON.
Minghella directed and produced the hit show THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, which debuted on HBO and BBC in March of 2008. He co-wrote the pilot and is an Executive Producer of the series. Minghella was also the head of the British Film Institute.
Minghella passed away on March 18, 2008 at 54 years old.