Borotalco turns 40. Carlo Verdone to Leggo: «I exploded with that film. Heirs? Nobody like me “

«Borotalco was everything to me. I had to prove that I was an actor and a director by giving up my characters. No more wigs, gestures and strange voices. There was a need for a strong story and I found it: my career started from there ». Forty years later, Carlo Verdone retains a bond of affectionate gratitude towards his most beloved film: «It’s nice that certain scenes, certain lines are still remembered. It gives the sense of having hit the mark, of having given a little good humor to the public for all these years ».

How was the idea for the film born?

«It was the idea of ​​a light, graceful fairytale, which represented the spirit of those 80’s so colorful and optimistic, full of beautiful music like that of Lucio Dalla. The other theme was the overturning of man-woman roles ».

In what sense?

«In the film the female figure is more dynamic, stronger, more capable. Feminism had earthquake everything: the old alpha male no longer existed, the man who hooked up like Tognazzi, Sordi, Manfredi or Gassman. There remained a simulacrum like Manuel Fantoni: a lonely man, who spent his afternoons telling lies to a salesman of the Colossi of Music, one who had nothing to do from morning to night! A somewhat miserable character, but very funny. And then there was me, with my clumsiness ».

Is it true that the role of Fantoni should have been assigned to Vittorio Gassman?

«Yes, it was the idea of ​​the other screenwriter, Enrico Oldoini. Gassman, with his slightly trombonesque prosopopoeia, seemed to him perfect. But I had made films with little-known characters, with good character actors, I was afraid that Gassman was too bulky a personality. So I chose Angelo Infanti, a good, generous actor: I’m happy that he remained in the hearts of the public with that character ».

What struck you in Eleonora Giorgi?

“She was a beautiful girl, she had done several comedies, some good, some less so. I was looking for a character who was bright, sparkling, full of energy. And I convinced myself that he was the right person. Then I got to know her better, also thanks to the participation of her husband, Angelo Rizzoli, in the production, and I realized that she was just the girl next door, with the right enthusiasm we needed ».

And then there is Mario Brega. Is it true that the story of the beating of the two unfortunates who had made appreciation to their daughter was actually the story of a fight with Gordon Scott on the set of “Buffalo Bill”?

“Yes, because on set, Scott really gave him punches. So one day Brega got bored and said to him: “What are you serious about? So let’s see who wins ”. They began to fight and he yelled at him: “I miss the blood you let me out, a ‘cuckold, on guard!”. And then he placed two for him. And he told us: “I fell with my arms wide back like Jesus Christ, je scream: arzete horned”. He told it 50 times a day, he wanted us to understand that he was someone you couldn’t joke with. “

The concept of “sta mano po ‘esse fero e po’ esse feather” of “Bianco rosso e Verdone”.

“Exactly. That joke came to me on the highway. Brega didn’t want to say it, maybe he didn’t understand it, but Sergio Leone was enthusiastic about it: “Tell him about it”, he insisted ».

In “Borotocalco” he made a young Moana Pozzi debut. Is it true that he met her from Troisi?

«Yes, it was the umpteenth” catch “from Massimo. I saw her one evening with him, she was handsome, tight, bona! Then I saw her a few days later in the apartment in Trastevere that we wanted to use as Giorgi’s home: she was wearing only a pair of briefs. I asked her, “Are you having trouble with nude scenes?” “But for heaven’s sake, no one”, he replied to me ».

With Lucio Dalla, however, he risked ending badly …

“His boxes were spinning because on the movie posters his name was as big as the title, twice mine. So he went to the premiere in Bologna with a fighting spirit, then he began to see people laughing, to understand that the film was a tribute to him and in the end there was a great applause and everyone went to greet him and compliment him. The next morning he called me and said: “I forgive you, you made a great movie”. Then we became friends ».

Why did an entire generation identify with the film?

“Because he captured the spirit of that period, its candor, with good, naive characters. We came from a period of strong tensions, of clashes every Saturday, of terrorist attacks, which culminated in the assassination of Aldo Moro. There was a desire to smile again ».

And there was also an extraordinary new generation of comedians: she, Troisi, Nuti, but also Benigni, in some ways Moretti …

“Yes, it was a generation that wanted to give a boost to an Italian comedy that was struggling. We all had great box office results. So finally the red-light rooms were closed and the real big rooms with the numbers of the past were opened again ».

Sad to remember it today, in time of Covid. Is there a future for theaters?

«I hope so, but it cannot be ignored that everything is changing. Streaming platforms are a reality ».

There was also a lot of freedom for the comedians. How do you live today with the dogmas of political correctness?

«Certain lines of“ Borotalco ”could no longer be used. Today we have to make people laugh in another way. On some principles I agree, on other things we exaggerate. There is an American feminism that is a bit heavy and at times above all hypocritical: it is the thing that bothers me most ».

Has the Rome of “Borotalco” and his first films also disappeared?

“Because there are no more Romans, those who spoke from window to window.”

Those who said “good, so instead of one who falls ten” in “A lot beautiful”.

“Yes, those. The true soul of Rome, that of Belli, has been dispersed in the barracks of the suburbs right from the 1980s. Today it is a more cynical, nasty city, with a lot of social envy, just read the social newtwork “.

Not hers, though: they seem like oases of good feelings …

“I don’t care about likes, I write what I think, I tell my stories with sincerity. In the end, people appreciate me for this ».

And now they know “La vita da Carlo” a little better. By the way: did you expect the success of the series?

“No, I was very scared! I was worried about the amount of work and I had never confronted myself with this formula. But it went well, I told myself with courage ».

The next movie?

“I’m ready to write, I’m waiting for input from De Laurentiis and Prime Video.”

Is there a film or a director in which for a moment you saw the Verdone of “Borotalco”?

“No, nobody. That’s my style, too Verdonian ».

No heirs, then?

“Not for now, even if there are many good actors. But for heaven’s sake, let’s hope that some young people will come to take our place, otherwise the cinema will die here! ».


Last updated: Tuesday 18 January 2022, 15:21

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Borotalco turns 40. Carlo Verdone to Leggo: «I exploded with that film. Heirs? Nobody like me ”

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