A radiant Gabriele Muccino receives the Monte-Carlo Film Festival de la Comedie Award. In this occasion, the Rome-born director comments the success of his latest film too, the ensemble comedy There Is No Place Like Home, which grossed 4 million Euro in his first five days on release. After Summertime, this film marks his cinematic comeback to his native Italy. He also takes this opportunity to comment on the Oscar nominations for Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name, a project which was first proposed to him.
How do you explain the success of There Is No Place Like Home?
A family that is forced to come to terms with its private issues is a universal topic which catches everybody's attention. And the enormously-talented cast convinced the audience, who go to the theatre looking to be thrilled. This rule has always been and will always be valid. It's films that, good or bad, doesn't leave people cold.
What if the actors weren't so famous? Do you think the film would have work anyway?
Actors are not honey traps to deceive the audience. Beyond their fame, the point is how you make use of them. If you let them work within the right narrative context, they can do their best. The story which they inhabit and how you tell it is key.
The night of the Oscars is near: any memory of yours, beside Will Smith who was nominated for The Pursuit of Happyness?
A night full of energy, where nothing is fake and you can feel the tension and adrenalin. There's a terrible anxiety in the air: Will Smith lost it for just 15 votes. Those are unique moments, everybody wants to win.
Are you rooting for Guadagnino?
It's always a great joy to see Italian filmmakers who are nominated for the Oscars, although in the past some of them fell short - I don't want to name names, but you can just see the list of those who didn't get the prize. Guadagnino arrived there from outside any national logic and that's twice as interesting: 4 nominations are something huge and the Italians have no credit for it. For years they haven't supported him as he deserves. That's very telling, alas.
What's your opinion on the film?
I find it very brave. I read the script some time ago, they asked me to direct it, but I didn't feel I was the right person to handle this story. Not everything's for everybody. I saw it and found it evocative. It recounts the seasons of love that live inside of us even when we grow old, and that nostalgia of things not lived which generates a high degree of self-identification.
Did you find Timothée Chalamet's Oscar-nominated performance convincing, too?
I didn't know him before this film. He has an impressive talent, I must say I like him quite a lot.
Any idea on your next film?
At the moment I'm fishing: I throw nets and see what I get. I have just one certainty: I will definitely shoot it in Italy.