Marcello Mastroianni

  1. Oskar Werner, Jules et Jim, France, 1961.      The girl in the Jules-Jim sandwich was easy – réalisateur François Truffaut’s lover, Jeanne Moreau.   Jim was Henri Serre, who resembled the novel’s author, Henri-Pierre Roché. As for Jules, “I needed an accent and Marcello would have meant Italian co-production.” However, he decided to remain faithful to the Henri-Pierre Roche book and selected the German stage actor he recalled from Max Ophuls’ Lola Montes. Like everything else in the film. The choice was idyllic. Not so much in 1966 when Werner ruined the lead in Truffaut’s Fahrentiheit 451.

  2. Michel Piccoli, Le Mépris (US: Contempt), France, 1963.    
    Rome producer Carlo Ponti  desired  a film by Jean-Luc Godard. (Why?) French New Wave auteur chose Alberto Moravia’s English-titled novel, A Ghost at Noon… for Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. Hey, this is a Ponti product, so it has to be his missus, Sophia Loren, and her best partner, Marcello Mastroianni. Jamais, said Godard. Ponti suggested  Monica Vitti.- Raf Vallone.  But he was shooting The Cardinal and, according to Godard’s then wife, Anna Karina, Vitti “ turned up more than an hour late, staring out of the window like she wasn’t interested at all, so he went back to his original idea.” He’d long been looking for a Bardot subject.  So, BB + Sinatra? Non, she preferred  + Michel Piccoli.  They  first worked together   eight years earlier in René Clair’s Les Grandes Manoeuvres, 1955. “She’s a  loyal girl,” agreed  Godard.  “Without her OK,  the film would never have happened – it’s the first time she acted her real age, 29.  She was extraordinaire.”  Hence, Le mépris remains  her most frequently seen movie on French TV. Martin Scorsese loves it. It has grown increasingly, almost unbearably, moving to me,” he told Criterion. “It’s a shattering portrait of a marriage going wrongalso a lament for a kind of cinema that was disappearing one of the most frightening great films ever made.” Bardot and  and Mastroianni had co-starred, uncomfortably, in 

  3. Paul Newman, What a Way to Go, 1964.  A certain Louisa May Foster takes her shrink through her five late husbands – every one a laugh. (If only). Prepared for Marilyn Monroe before her tragic death, I Love Louisawas given to Elizabeth Taylor with Marilyn’s Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Marcello Mastroianni, David Niven. Finally, Shirley MacLaine wed to Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke… but not Frank Sinatra who wanted   $500,000 or no show.  Oh and Dean Martin as a department store mogul called  Lennie Crawley, no less. This is where I usually say: And you can never go wrong with a Crawley. Not this (terrible) time!   Steve McQueen and Charlton Heston were up for Hubby #2, Paul Newman’s   American in Paris artist. Sounded like a reprise for Gene Kelly. Except he was Hubby #4, described as a song and dance man about to break into Hollywood – what at age 51!  Yes, the movie was that bad.  “An abomination,” said The New Leader critic John Simon.
  4. Peter Sellers, After the Fox, 1965. First and final film from Peter Sellers and John Bryan’s Brookfield company. A linguistic nightmare after Sellers invited Vittorio De Sica to direct the  Italian heist comedy somehow co-scripted  by Broadway king Neil Simon and De Sica’s favourite scenarist, Cesare Zavattini. And Mrs Sellers, Britt Ekland, played his sister – looking as Italian as most Swedes do. Neil Simon had wanted a Latin star: Vittorio Gassman or Marcello Mastroianni. Apparently, the mess became a later cult. In which mental institution?
  5. Richard Burton, La Bisbetica DomataThe Taming of the Shrew), Italy, 1966.  Until his agent told him to be more international, Italian stage-screen director Franco Zeffirelli’s first thought was the tried and tested team: Sophia Loren-Mastroianni.
  6. Maurice Ronet, Lost Command, 1966.     Director Mark Robsonfelt the Italian was best suited for the French officer eager to please his CO, Anthony Quinn. Mastrioianni did not. He hadn’t played minor roles in years. Robson was no David Lean and Lost Command was no Lawrence of Arabia.
  7. Rossano Brazzi, Woman Times Seven, 1967.    Seven faces of Shirley MacLaine and her menfolk: Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, Vittorio Gassman, Peter Sellers, Philippe Noiret, etc.  And an uncredited bit from Marlon Brando.  A kind of What a Way to Go Revisited.  No better. No worse.
  8. Omar Sharif, Mayerling, 1967.    In the production’s early stagesthree years earlier – the 007 director Terence Young  called on Oskar Werner to incarne  Crown Prince Rudolf, son and heir  of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph,  Marcello also passed on tje prince (Austrian, not Italian). The re-hash of Anatole Litvak’s 1936 version with Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux next became a  short-lived package for Audrey Hepburn and husband Mel Ferrer, as they had played the tragic lovers, Baroness Marie Alexandrine von Vetsera  and Prince Rudolf, in a 1957 TVersion.  But their marriage was unfolding. Pity, they would have been an improvement on the chemical imbalance of Deneuve-Omar Sharif, dead long before they died on-screen.  Deneuve- Mastroianni  would have been so much better – their affair produced their actress daughter, Chiara Mastroianni.
  9. David Hemmings, The Best House in London, 1968. In Victorian times, the government tries to take the whores off the streets and into the world’s #1 brothel. That was  the Italian  government when Carlo Ponti’s production was Best House in Milan for his wife, Sopha, opposite either Marcello Mastroianni or Vittorio Gassman. (Like who else?) Ponti switched it to London with a lower budget and lesser stars: Joanna Pettet and David Hemmings. In the first MGMovie to get an X rating. No, really!
  10. Omar Sharif, The Appointment, 1969.    Few kept the appointment when Mastroianni-Kim Novak became Sharif-Anouk Aimée.

  11. Dirk Bogarde, La Cadutta degli dei/The Damned, Italy-Germany, 1969.    Italian maestro Luchino Visconti’s Götterdämmerung version of Macbethwas a fortuitous meeting with Bogarde… leading to the blissful (for some) Death in Venice, 1971.
  12. Jerry Orbach, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, 1971.     MGM had high hopes for Marcello’sEnglish language debut in this Mafia comedy. Al Pacino left it for The Godfather; De Niro quit Coppola to be the young Calabriann cycle champ; Marcello confessed he couldn’t speaka da Engleesh well enough to pass for Kid Sally, Jimmy Breslin’s version of Crazy Joe Gallo. Replaced by Orbach – the future Lennie Briscoe in Law & Order from 1991 to his 2004 death.
  13. Topol, Follow Me! 1971. 1969, As the Burtons were coming and  going about filming Peter Shaffer’s 1962 play, The Private Ear, one  Universal suggestion in 1969  was…  Marcello Mastroianni as the detective hired by Rex Harrison to keep an eye on his possibly unfaithful wife – to be played by Mastroianni’s lover at the time. Faye Dunaway. They became Topol, Michael Jayston and Mia Farrow in director Carol Reed’s final film.  Chicago critic Roger Ebert shredded it: “The actors actually manage to make this look worse than it sounds (and I am not being very easy on it).”
  14. Alain Delon, La prima notte du Quiete, Italy-France, 1972.     Delon was in Rome killing Trotsky, when visited by Valerio Zurlini, a friend of the maestro, Visconti (Count Don Luchino Visconti Di Modrone), and was most surprised when the young director gave him a script. He admitted he had also given it to Marcello. Delon jumped first. Hence, finished film is aka Le Profeseur – a flop and, therefore,Delon’s favourite.”J’adore ce film!
  15. Yves Montand, César et Rosalie, France, 1972.       Realisateur Claude Sautet could never get his first choice Rosalie and David (Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Paul Belmondo) together with any César: Marcello or Vittorio Gassman or Lino Ventura. The finale trio – Montand, Romy Schneider, Sami Frey – remains unbeatable.
  16. Donald Sutherland, Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (Fellini’s Casanova), 1975    .With his secondproducer Andrea Rizzoli Rizzoli (son of La Dolce Vita producer Angelo Rizzoli) in 1974, Fellini shot tests of certain actors as the older Casanova – before settling for one actoras young and old. The testees were Alain Cuny (from La Dolce Vita), Ugo Tognazzi – and Vittorio Gassman, a previous Italian screen Casanova in Il Cavaliere misterioso, 1948.  But not the “most disappointed” Marcello (afine, older Casanova in La nuit de Varennes, 1981). Fellini saw but never tested the “pretentious and stupid” Gian Maria Volonte. Finally, all Italians were dropped as this was billed as Felliini’s first film in English.
  17. Francisco Rabal, Sorcerer, 1976.  Marcello and Lino Ventura quit when director William Friedkin lost Steve McQueen, the script’s greatest fan – by not shooting inside the US. “One of the biggest mistakes I ever made… That’s the cast I had if I could’ve gotten Steve. I said: ‘I don’t need stars; I’just make it with four good actors.’ And I did.” Another of his major mistakes. Of course, trying to re-make Le salaire de la peur/The Wages of Fear, 1953, was the biggest error or ’em all. Rabal was the Spaniard that Billy had wanted for Frog One in The French Connection when the casting director mistakenly booked the glorious Fernando Rey, instead.
  18. Jon Finch, Une femme fidele, France, 1976.    Sylvia Kristel was the Tourvel type in Vadim’s thinly disguised third version of his 1959 Les liaisons dangereuses. (His second was Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme…1973).

  19. Jean-Louis Trintignant, La Donna Della Domenica, Italy, 1976.    
    “When we started, I was the police inspector, Mastroianni the homosexual. After the first scene, [director] Luigi Comencini made a sign.  ‘Come here, you two.  Would it bother you to swop roles?’  Mastroianni asked me: ‘Would that bore you?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘and you?’ After lunch, he became the cop and me the homo” – the well-named Massimo Campi. JLT said Comencini was a bit of an authoritarian,  “He has a whistle. He uses a whistle!!!” He preferred Marcello…. “Mastroianni is one of the men I love the most… A  magnificent man, the most interesting of The Four Colonels (Gassman, Tognazzi, Sordi). He is   intelligent and modest… tolerant, generous. I really love him! We discussed everything – life, women, because  we are… pistachiers [flirts]. I’ve  seen him seduce women… I saw him, seduce une bombe, une bomb sexuelle, an actress  –  I won’t tell you her name – but the way he did that! Incredible, incredible!”Mastroanni more or less played JLT in Nadine Trintignant’s Ca n’a arrive qu’aux autres.

  20. Rod Steiger, Jesus of Nazareth, 1977.    “He hummed and hawed over money,”said Italian director Franco Zeffirelli.  “Mercifully, as it turnedout.We finally got Steiger – a magnificent Pontius Pilate.”
  21. Giancarlo GianniniViaggio con Anita (Travels With Anita and Lovers and Liars), Italy-France, 1978.  More than 20 years earlier, Federico Fellini considered making the Tulilo Pinello story after his Oscar-winning Le notti di Cabiria  (Njghts of Cabiria). Anita would be Cabiria, herself, his wife Giulietta Masina, opposite Marcello Mastroianni.  But then Fellini had a much better idea for Marcello. La Dolce Vita!.   More than 20 years later, “Hello,” said Sophia  on the phone to Federico Fellini. “it’s Anita.”  Not! Anita’s voyage grew from a (long) stanza axed from the  La dolce vita script- with Marcello Mastroianni and his lover, taking a (longer) Cadillac trip to his father’s deathbed…  Maestro Mario Monicelli  dug up the old project and jiggled it for the Arabesque couple, Sophia – representing Nature and Gregory Peck (or Marcello). Finally, they became Goldie and Giancarlo Giannini. With a transatlantic, Woody Allenish title: Lovers and Liars.  And it flopped. (Without malice, Fellini had mocked  the Pontis as the Mezzabottis  in 8½, 1962).
  22. Oleg Yankowskiy, Nostalghia, Italy-Russia, 1982. Andrei Tarkovsky, hailed as the finest Russian film-maker since Sergei Eisenstein, was making his first film outside of the motherland. And that is what it and his future short life – was all about. “That state of mind peculiar to our nation which affects Russians far from their native land.” He never returned home  and “the stifling sense of longing that fills the screen was to become my lot for the rest of my life.” The narrative (or dream?) follows a Russian poet and his Italian translator researching the life of an 18th Century composer in Tuscany. The poet was planned for Kaidanowsky (barred from leaving Russia) or his Anatoliy Solonitsyn, who died prematurely from cancer. Italian money meant Marcello Mastroianni and Ugo Tonazzi had to be considered. There was a moment when the couple would be Jean-Louis Trintignant and Fanny Ardant but they switched to Truffaut’s finale, Vivement dimanche! A lucky break for Yankowskiy, making up for 1976 when Tarkovsky had offered him merely Laertes in a Hamlet staging, with the main role (then as now) given to his greatest rival, Solonitsyn. The director made one more film before his death in France in 1986. Ingmar Bergman hailed him as “the most important director of all time…. the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”    
  23. Alain Delon, Nouvelle vaugue, Switzerland-France, 1989.     When searching in 1964for a project to help save his marriage to Anna Karina, bilious realisateur Jean-Luc Godard suggested a story of an actress caught between two men – played by the same man (Jean-Paul Belmondo). Nothing came of it. In 1987, producer Marin Karmitz suggested it with Mastroianni – who passed on what eventually became Nouvelle vague. Delon, thoroughly bemused on and off-screen, struggling with having Godard’s last minute dialogue on cue-cards.
  24. Luca De Filippo, Sabato, domenica et lunedi/Saturday, Sunday and Monday,Italy, TV, 1990.     “A pity- who better than Sophia andI to play husband and wife.” Producer Carlo Ponti (and Italy’stele-tycoon Silvio Berlusconi) agreed and planned another teaming with Loren (in total, they made 13 films). However, Marcello, who loved Eduardo De Filippo’s play (“moving and ironic”), did not approve the adaptation by director Lina Wertmuller, among others. The role went to the third generation ofthe De Filippoacting family.
  25. Peter O’Toole,Isabelle Eberhart, 1991.      A 1976 plan by the London producer Don Boyd.
  26. Kirk Douglas, Oscar, 1991.     When Victor Mature asked too much money to be Sylvester Stallone’s gangster father, John Landis considered Marcello.”But the guy is just too busy, doing his usual three, four leads a year.”His career total: 159 screen roles in 58 years.
  27. Donel Donnelly, The Godfather: Part III, 1991.
  28. Alain Delon, Leretourde Casanova, France, 1992.    Realisateur Edouard Niermans’ film was first announced by Paris producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier in 1987 – after producing Mastroianni’s magnificently aged Casanova in La route de Varennes, France, 1982. “So he was one of the few people who could have done it,” said  Niermans. “My only other choice was [Jean-Louis] Trintignant.  But bringing the story to the screen proved a very long, complicated  story. The  producer told me: It’s got to be with Delon. I wasn’t sure, but then I felt it might be a good idea.It wasn’t. The experience with that actor was so frightening!”
  29. Max von Sydow, Time Is Money, France, 1993.     “As the main character is an old Hollywood director turned novelist,” explained writer-director Paolo Barzman, “we thought we should have an actor closely identified with a certain director: Mastroianni-Fellini, Von Sydow-Bergman…”
  30. Philippe Noiret, La vie silencieuse, France., 1996.    Too ill.
  31. Carlo Cecchi, Hamam/The Turkish Bath, Italy, 1997.    Planning his directing debut after 15 years of assisting, Ferzan Ozpetek chased Mastroianni. “He liked the script but due to health reasons, he thought he’d be unable to do it. Think about that: An actor as great as Mastroianni responded immediately while others never bothered to reply at all. After a couple of successes, certain actors develop star attitudes.”Filmwas unveiled at the 50th Cannes festival, at the same time as the late Marcello’s autobio-docu, Marcello Mastroianni: mi ricordo, sì, io mi ricordo/Marcello Masttoianni: I Remember, Yes I Remember.



 Birth year: 1923Death year: 1996Other name: Casting Calls:  31