Venice Film Festival: Ferrari movie, interview with actor Giuseppe Bonifati
Cinema / Interview - 04 September 2023
Ferrari is the film in competition at the Venice Film Festival.
Can you tell us about your role in Ferrari as Giacomo Cuoghi, a colleague of the main character?
More than a trait, my character required a detail—a physical peculiarity—that had to be leading the interpretation. Michael Mann gave me some materials and interviews to study that concerned the figure of Giacomo Cuoghi. With these writings, I better understood the relationship between Enzo Ferrari and his lawyer Cuoghi, but there was no documentary intent from both parts. Rather than a defender of the “Drake", I have been above all a business adviser, almost a friend, despite the fact that the two never were on first-name terms.
How did you work with Penelope Cruz and Adam Driver?
I found myself comfortable working with the main actors (mainly Adam Driver), even during rehearsals, despite having in front of me one of the most requested artists by the international star system. The fact that Michael Mann decided to put me next to Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz for the table read with the cast certainly helped to break the ice before filming began.
Where did the filming take place?
We shot mostly in Modena. It was an enriching experience, my second time in a Hollywood movie (after All the Money in the World) and the BBC series "US" (with Tom Hollander).
What is director Mann like on set: does he leave room for improvisation or does he have an iron-clad script?
I can say it was a masterclass working with such a meticulous director like Mann, who takes care of every single detail: a pose, the tension of a gesture, or the way to grab an object in a non-obvious way. It is admirable that Michael Mann was able to make this film after almost twenty years. For my work as a director, I will certainly treasure this lesson as well.
Michael Mann is like a sculptor behind the camera; reaching after so many takes a sort of "artistic exhaustion" from you, and I say this in a positive way. He is a director who manages to get what he wants. Being a director myself, seeing a sacred "monster" like Mann working was a great lesson. He leaves room for the creativity of the actor, but at the same time, he drives you, just like on board a sports car. He is the one behind the wheel, and together you are moving in the established direction.
What is the last movie you saw that you liked the most?
I recently saw Oppenheimer in Budapest. It left me with a strong headache at the end of the projection, maybe because of the many hours and powerful images. But it was actually a great movie for its capacity to mix science and high-level vision. It is a very actual film; it made me reflect much on the present times. Recently, it seems that the world is sick, polluted, in war, and poor, especially in terms of art and culture. The value of the artist and his power in society have gone down sharply, and this can be seen throughout Europe, as well as through the experiences of colleagues. Arts and culture are not a priority on the political agenda, but instead they represent a primary asset to be protected at all costs.
You were born in Calabria, in Castrovillari. What do you miss most about your home?
I am sorry I cannot have my family around, given my touring life around the world, but I am in contact with them daily. I actually miss more recognition and attention here in my second home. Since we have moved from the North to the south of Denmark, we have experienced successes, but also blindness from local and national institutions towards our theatre. Perhaps the saying "No man is a prophet in his own country" is valid everywhere. There are no merits here, but they are always there.
We resist and keep intact the ability to build dreams and make people a part of them, as we have always done. And with great results, despite everything.
What is your next project?
At the beginning of the year, I started writing a screenplay, which I had already in mind a few years ago. It could be my feature film directorial debut. The narrative is set between Calabria (Italy) and Denmark, and it is inspired by the tragedy of Hamlet, a revenge movie revised in a contemporary way and through the imaginary places that have been the main background in my artistic career over the past twenty years.
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