Movie-Making Italian Style
The original intention was to shoot the Paris exteriors in Torino (Turin),
because it was actually occupied by the French for a period and still has a
strong French influence architecturally. Various complications nixed that plan,
so the Paris exteriors were shot in the center of Rome, ironically on Via
Veneto, itself a visual symbol of La Dolce Vita and the high life of Roman
society in the 1960s.
While it may have seemed apt for Hollywood movie star Liam Neeson to work on
the streets of Rome doubling for Paris, the event caused quite a stir, as Neeson
testifies: "Oh God, there were some memorable moments about filming in Rome-but
I have to be honest, the paparazzi were like mosquitos! It was a real exercise
in concentration to try and ignore them when we were working." Shades of La
Olivia Wilde laughingly recalls her most memorable moment: "My lasting memory
of being in Rome on THIRD PERSON is probably running stark naked through the
hotel set, which I've decided is something that I think I should do on every
film as it's a real ice-breaker with the crew in the first week. Once you do
that nothing else is intimidating. There is something to be said for taking
risks that shed all pretence, but it takes a really wonderfully supportive crew
to make you feel that safe. I will never forget the first time Paul called
'action' on that scene-it's one thing to be naked in a film, and any man or
woman can empathize with the idea of being naked in front of a camera, but it's
another thing to be naked and running down a staircase and thinking 'God it's a
good thing I love this story!'"
Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody feels that the Rome filming
experience fed his creativity in more ways than one. "I feel really blessed to
shoot in Rome. I've shot all over the world in many places that were very
interesting but were much more isolated. Rome has tremendous history, culture,
architecture and of course wonderful food. The
history that surrounds you is inspirational. When you're going to work and
coming home from work you're being fed art and I think that's very important for
environment. I think it helped my work to be in a place like Rome."
Of his character's road trip to the sketchy side of Southern Italy, Brody
exclaims "I loved Taranto. There's a little undercurrent in the place and you
want to keep on the good side of the people down there but they were all so good
to me. My mum's a photographer; she wants to go back down there so I got the
numbers of lots of the local guys who said they'll take care of her and I
believe they will. I think they'll appreciate it for her to turn up in a
beautiful but slightly rough town. We were really welcomed there because it's a
kind of forgotten place, but fascinating, and the faces of the people were so
unique and expressive."
"To film in Italy, one of the most beautiful places in the planet, has been
heaven," enthuses Moran Atias. "The people are amazing here and the mentality is
something I feel so comfortable with. There's a lot of love in Rome-people touch
each other more and charm and sex are in the air. You just really feel life here
and the best of it. Food is one of the biggest pleasures in my life, so having
great food is a big factor in what makes Rome because they make it with so much
love. It's not about the quantity or how long you wait for your pasta, because
when they bring it, it's made with their own hands, they've probably cultivated
the tomatoes themselves and it comes with love." (Ironically, it's an aversion
to Italian food that brings Brody's American-businessman character into contact
with Atias's Roma charmer.)
Maria Bello loved filming in Rome for more familiar reasons. "I've been here
many, many times; my father is Italian, and my great-grandparents are from this
area, so it's always a joy to come back. I feel like I'm coming home in a lot of
ways, and besides LA and New York, it's my favorite city in the world."
Despite the immense challenges and limited time, Production Designer Laurence
Bennett and his team kept their sense of humor: "As Luca Tranchino, my Art
Director, is fond of saying, 'It's a comedy until we cry, and then it's a
tragedy,' because in the midst of prep and production, the unexpected happens
frequently, and how we respond to these things tests us as artists and
filmmakers. Above all, exploring Rome and finding out how to use this one city
for all three cities has been a challenge but it's been huge fun."
Writer/Director Paul Haggis voices satisfaction for every bit of challenge,
irony, and complexity wrapped up in THIRD PERSON. "It's a bit of a contradiction
for me: on the one hand, it's a very personal, intimate relationship drama that
I wrestled with writing for years, and on the flipside, it had me shepherding a
dazzling, high-profile ensemble cast
through all these glorious locations at a breathless clip. It meant giving three
different stories three distinct visual looks, and yet bringing it all back
together as a unified whole. I'm a very lucky man and filmmaker to have had the
talents of such a cast and crew to help carry it off."
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