Nanni Moretti • Director
"It is not a film 'about' Berlusconi"
- This was The Caiman's first public outing in the presence of the director, and the audience of Moretti fans gave the work a long standing ovation, before launching in with questions
Why didn't you play the main role yourself, but gave it to Silvio Orlando?
Nanni Moretti : I have often thought that sooner or later I would choose a different actor: a protagonist of a different age, or a woman in the main role. While we were writing the film, the screenwriters realised they were working on the lines as though they were delivered by Silvio Orlando. And it was true. Orlando is a champion performer. I thought that if I gave the part to him, I could concentrate better on the film, that it would all be much easier. Whereas my involvement never lessened. I did a screentest with Orlando, even though it wasn't necessary. One evening, Barbagallo called me and said: 'Silvio has just called me. He says he'll kill himself if he doesn't get this part'. I called him and told him not to take it so seriously. He replied: 'Obviously feel free to choose. If a foreign performer comes in, that's not a problem. If you decide to do the part, I'm happy. But if the protagonist is an Italian and it is not me, I'll kill myself. So, as I say, you have a free choice'.
There are three Berlusconis in the "film within the film", played by De Capitani, Placido and Moretti. Was his final intervention always planned or was it a last minute choice?
I hadn't told anyone, but I had decided to play the part right from the word go. Only Jasmine, Margherita and Orlando had the whole screenplay. I wanted a coup de théâtre. Everyone thought the film ended when the director says: camera, action!
Why is it "The Caiman" who has the last word, after the sentence?
To really wrongfoot the audience. Those who follow court cases in the news know that they are words uttered by the President. But hearing them said by me, with my face, it creates a distance between the person who actually said them, and the cultural content of those expressions comes across more strongly. This is just a film. It will not make anyone change their vote on election day, because most people have more or less made up their minds. And it is not a film 'about' Berlusconi.
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