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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

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