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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 Dolce Vita.

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 a creative 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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