Spielberg: No Interest In Making Berlusconi Biopic
words by Carol King
Steven Spielberg has told the Italian media that he has no interest in making a biopic about Silvio Berlusconi, but would like to work with Roberto Benigni.
The American film director, screenwriter, producer visited Rome to promote his latest film ‘Lincoln’, which has opened in Italy. The movie tells the story of the last months of American President Abraham Lincoln’s life.
During his trip, Spielberg visited the Italian Parliament. There, according to Hollywood Reporter’, the Italian Senate president Renato Schifani praised him for the “historical themes” in his films. Schifani is a prominent member of Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom) party.
Perhaps it was the historical drama’s political protagonist that prompted the Italian press at the event to ask if the Oscar winner would like to make a biopic about the former Italian prime minister, soccer-club owner and media mogul. Or perhaps it was timing, given that Berlusconi is running in the general election despite fighting legal battles regarding his business dealings and the so-called ‘bunga bunga’ sex scandal involving young women.
Spielberg replied that only a visionary talent like the late Italian director Federico Fellini in his full maturity would have been able to make such a film. The Oscar-winning director Fellini is famous for his baroque fantasies like ‘Le notti di Cabiria’ (Nights of Cabiria, 1957) that featured prostitutes as heroines, bawdy drama ‘Satyricon’ (1969) set in imperial Rome, biopic of the womaniser ‘Casanova’ (1976) and his exposure of Rome’s seedy underbelly ‘La Dolce Vita’ (1960).
However, Spielberg did say that he hoped to make a film with Oscar-winning Italian comic and director Benigni, although he gave no details of any possible project on which they might collaborate. An outspoken critic of Berlusconi, Benigni appeared in Fellini’s last film, ‘La voce della luna’ (The Voice of the Moon, 1990), in which Fellini mounted an assault on media moguls and the vacuousness of mass media.