THE MAKING OF THE TRIP TO ITALY (PART 2)

LONDON – Following on from PART ONE (Click here), we conclude the making of The Trip to Italy, considered one of the most difficult films ever made.

Michael Winterbottom:

Rob became very impatient with the film making process. For us to get the Batman meal we needed them to talk and eat for seven hours straight. They were both going out to vomit and then coming back again. Rob’s Michael Caine impersonation just wasn’t working, so at one point we decided just to get Michael Caine to come in and do ADR for us.

Steve Coogan:

To be fair we did use Rob’s script for the Batman dinner.

MW: Rob also wanted to have sex in the film as a way of making his character more interesting, but now it was Rob who was insisting on realism.

Rob Brydon:

The way I saw it was that if I was going to carry my own bag in the getting to the hotel scene, then when it came to the lovemaking I was going to damn well do that as well.

SC: He just became this egotistical monster. God knows what his wife is going to make of it when she sees the film. I mean it was very awkward.

MW: By the end of the production neither Rob nor Steve were talking to each other. As we moved south to Rome and then Naples, the weather got better but we increasingly had difficulty with organised crime. Some of the scenes were interrupted by gunfire and had to be totally redone. Also Don Cicco, a local heavy threatened to have Steve and Rob both assassinated if we didn’t include his son in the film. We quickly wrote a subplot in which Steve’s son comes to meet them and cast Don Cicco’s son.

SC: He didn’t speak a word of English so we just spoke around him and then over dubber everything. Which of course meant that along with being forced to use sections of Rob’s script that all the spontaneity of the original idea was totally gone.

RB: They didn’t just abandon my script they pissed on it. And I don’t mean that metaphorically. They took the script and in a scene reminiscent of  Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut they pissed on the script. That’s when I stabbed Steve.

MW: They had been fighting since the beginning. Physical fighting. They would kick each other under the table as we were filming. It was like Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, we had to put a wooden board to divide them under the table. But after the screenplay pissing incident, Rob actually stabbed Steve with a knife. We were re-enacting the revenge scene from The Godfather: Part 2 and Rob used a real knife.

SC: I felt what can only be described as a ‘stabbing pain’.

MW: We rushed him to hospital and fortunately we managed to get him stitched up. The scene worked perfectly so I kept it in, as a dream sequence. It became obvious though that the two couldn’t work together again.

SC: Not only will I never work with Rob Brydon again, if I ever have the opportunity to do him harm, I will do him harm.

RB: I don’t know why we shouldn’t do another one. We are after all artists and I’ve already started working on the script. I see a series like the ‘Road to…’ movies.  The next one is going to be called The Trip to Afghanistan.

The Trip to Afghanistan will be released in 2016.

For more of The Making of CLICK HERE.

THE MAKING OF THE TRIP TO ITALY (PART 1)

LONDON – Despite its apparent luxury, Michael Winterbottom’s Trip to Italy was actually a highly fraught production and for the first time the principals discuss what became known as the ‘the most difficult film ever made’.

Michael Winterbottom:

The first film was done in 2010, and originally it was a TV series which we then edited together as a film. We were very happy with the result and it was easy to do. There was good food, and Rob and Steve got along well. There was no script and so we just let them develop their characters and improvise. The idea of doing the same again but now in Italy felt like getting paid to go on holiday, but it soon all began to go horribly wrong.

Steve Coogan:

I’d worked with Rob and enjoyed his sense of humor and so I was very keen to make the sequel, but the moment we arrived in Italy things began to go wrong.

Rob Brydon:

I knew that Steve and Michael were both looking at this like a holiday, but I was deeply unsatisfied with the original film. I thought it was facile and I blamed the improvisational technique so this time I wrote a script.

MW: The script was five hundred pages long. Even if we had wanted to shoot it, which we didn’t, we would have gone over budget and over schedule. We’d still be there now.

RB: I don’t think they even read it.

SC: I didn’t read it.

MW: So already there were disagreements about how to proceed. We arrived in Piedmont and the weather was atrocious. It was the worst rainfall in the history of the region.

SC: It rained and rained and rained. Most of the outdoor shots you see were green screen. And the food was just disgusting. I hate pasta and Rob is allergic to garlic.

RB: At one point, I get out of the car and I get my bag. Now, what you don’t understand just watching the film is that that bag is actually full of my stuff and is quite heavy. Michael insisted I carry it myself, for realism he said. Something you understand that as a top flight comedian, I’m not used to doing. And Michael would insist on doing take after take after take. Sometimes as many as three takes.

MW: Rob became very impatient with the film making process. For us to get the Batman meal we needed them to talk and eat for seven hours straight. They were both going out to vomit and then coming back again. Rob’s Michael Caine impersonation just wasn’t working, so at one point we decided just to get Michael Caine to come in and do ADR for us.

SC: To be fair we did use Rob’s script for the Batman dinner.

MW: Rob also wanted to have sex in the film as a way of making his character more interesting, but now it was Rob who was insisting on realism.

RB: The way I saw it was that if I was going to carry my own bag in the getting to the hotel scene, then when it came to the lovemaking I was going to damn well do that as well.

SC: He just became this egotistical monster. God knows what his wife is going to make of it when she sees the film. I mean it was very awkward.

MW: By the end of the production neither Rob nor Steve were talking to each other. As we moved south to Rome and then Naples, the weather got better but we increasingly had difficulty with organised crime.

The Making of The Trip to Italy will conclude shortly.

For more of The Making of CLICK HERE.

AMANDA KNOX TO STAR IN THE JINX 2

HOLLYWOOD – Andrew Jarecki is rumored to be following up his HBO documentary The Jinx with The Jinx 2, taking Amanda Knox as its subject.

The American student was accused of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007. Along with boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, she was tried, found guilty, then freed on appeal, tried again, guilty, then to tell you the truth we lost track. There were a bunch of other trials, investigations, appeals and stuff but finally the highest court in Italy decided that further investigation would be fruitless and cancelled the convictions. Patrick Lumumba was imprisoned, after he was implicated by Knox. He was later found to be innocent when it was proven Knox had lied about his involvement.

The trial has already been the inspiration for several books and films, including Face of an Angel by Michael Winterbottom, but the new HBO documentary – if it takes place – will hopefully throw light on a case that the Italian justice system has singularly failed to resolve. Jarecki and his team will be hoping that their patented Hot Mic technology will reveal once and for all the truth behind what remains a mysterious case. Rudi Guede – an immigrant from the Ivory Coast – is the only person successfully convicted for the crime and remains in jail.

The Jinx 2 will be broadcast in 2016.

STEVEN SODERBERGH TO MAKE 1 LAST FILM A YEAR UNTIL 2025

HOLLYWOOD – Steven Soderbergh has announced that he is to definitively retire ever year until 2025, when he is hoping to resume his film making career.

His last two last films Side Effects and the Cannes bound Behind the Candelabra will serve for 2013, but there will be a new last Soderbergh film, accompanied by a plethora of interviews about how sick and tired he is of the whole film making business.

Soderbergh watcher and cheese expert Xavier Poulis commented on the latest twist in the drama:

Steven has always run ahead of the pack. He starts his career by jumping the shark and then goes on from there. I remember the first time I ever saw Haywire and I said to myself:  “Acid jazz and a bad actress, who else but Steven?”

British film director and sworn enemy Michael Winterbottom said: “Soderbergh is a hack, a washed up hack. He has to feed the press these goof ball stories only because his films are so uninteresting. And he hasn’t got any hair! He’s a baldy! A bald eagle specky four eyes and I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!”

Soderbergh responded to Winterbottom’s comments via his blog:

I have read with sadness Mr. Winterbottom’s comments, who although not a friend is a fellow professional, whom I do admire. All I have to say in response is: I know you are; what am I?

A festival of Steven Soderbergh’s final films is currently underway at the London BFI.

MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM RETIRES FROM FILM DIRECTING AS WELL

LONDON – Film director and Steven Soderbergh‘s arch-enemy, Michael Winterbottom has retired from the world of feature film directing, claiming that his decision has nothing to do with the similar retirement of Steven Soderbergh.

‘Steven who?’ he said, pulling a face and shrugging. ‘Never heard of him.’

Winterbottom – whose films include Cock and Bull Story, The Killer Inside Me and 24 Hour Party People – issued a statement announcing his retirement earlier today.

The state of the film industry and some other stuff about studios has made me realise that I can no longer work in the feature film industry. The Look of Love, The Trip to Italy and The Face of an Angel will be my last three films, possibly I’ll manage another Thomas Hardy adaptation in the middle or a documentary. From now on I plan to work for HBO or write a novel on Twitter or something. This has nothing to do with what Steven Soderbergh did. I’ve been planning to retire for years; before he was even born I was planning to retire. 

Michael Winterbottom’s feud with Steven Soderbergh has roots and causes more complicated and ancient than the most problematic Middle Eastern conflict. Some say it was only exacerbated by the Film Off organised earlier this year by the Studio Exec (CLICK HERE for more) and which led to Soderbergh spraining his directing finger.  

The Look of Love, The Trip to Italy, A Pair of Blue Eyes, Bari, The Trip to France and The Face of an Angel will be Michael Winterbottom’s last films.


WINTERBOTTOM – SODERBERGH FILM OFF

HOLLYWOOD – Michael Winterbottom and Steven Soderbergh announce a film off during which the two famously prolific film makers are going to make a complete feature film every day for a month.

‘The challenge is to go from script to editing in a day,’ says Michael Winterbottom sneering. ‘And then you have casting, photography, special effects, soundtrack and post. The red carpet premières take place at 9 o’ clock and 11 that evening with the order switched each day.’

‘Mikey ain’t got a chance in hell, he’s gonna cry like a little girl when I’ve finished with him,’ Soderburgh giggled feverishly. ‘Matt Damon will be in every other film. I’ll do some Oceans movies as well. And then some experimental stuff and I’ll be calling in some favours from my vast array of talented friends. Who does he have? Tell me who you have? You got maybe, MAYBE, an Affleck.’

‘Casey said…’

‘You got nothing my friend. You hear me? Nothing!’

‘Soderburgh is full of bunkum,’ Winterbottom spat on the floor. ‘It’ll be easy. I’ll just adapt some Thomas Hardy novels and then get Steve Coogan to ad lib the rest. Throw in some fellatio. Everyone’s happy. What? You wanna go and see Contagion 2, 3 and 4?’

‘Is there a danger that quality might be compromised in this rush?’ Studio Exec had the opportunity of asking.

The directors take a moment before answering as they fight for breath and wipe the tears from their eyes.

Soderburgh recovers first: ‘Quality? Compromise? I think not.’

Tess of the Flipping D’Urbevilles and Sex, Lies and Memory Stick start filming on Monday and will be released the same day.