Monica Vitti

1. – Dawn Addams, L’éducation sentimentale (UK: Lessons in Love), France-Italy, 1961.     Italian money in the fourth film of  critic turned auteur (and so-called Uncle of the New Wave) Alexandre Astruc., naturally meant at least one Italian a star. So, Vitti or Lea Massari?  Neither, said Astruc, insisting on the British Addams.  After all,  she was good enough for Chaplin…. 

2. – Michèle Mercier, Angélique, marquise des anges,  France, 1964.   At first, Paris producteur Francis Cosne could only think of Vadim’s women: Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Jane Fonda, Annette Strøyberg.  Oh, plus Claudia Cardinale, Marina Vlady… and Vitti.  Always a pleasure, thinking of Vadim’s women…

3. Julie Christie, Darling, 1965.     Well, the British producer had Italian blood –  Joseph Janni.

4. –  Eva Marie Saint, Grand Prix, 1966.    “She just didn’t want to do it,” said a disappointed director John Frankenehimer.

5. – Marisa Mell, The Defector, France-Germany, 1966.    Vitti, Leslie Caron, Nicole Courcel were all due to have been Montgomery Clift’s final  leading lady.

6. – Elisa Montés, Return of the Seven, 1966.  Well, two of them did…!   Yul Brynner reprised Chris but with Robert Fuller hopelessly lost as Steve McQueen’s film-stealing Vin. While new director Burt Kennedy  looked over new guys for the old saddles,  producer Ted Richmond  was jn Spain chatting up possibles for the least important element of the  franchise: The Woman.  He met with the Italian Monica Vitti (hardly Western material) and the French Thunderball Bond Girl Claudine Auger. He chose Maria Cuadra, who proved to be pregnant and, therefore, he  signed Montés, from a spaghetti Western, cashing in on  key words of recent Western hits, 7 dollari sul rosso akaSeven Dollars to Kill.

7. – Romy Schneider, La piscine, France-Italy, 1969.     An Italian co-prod without an Italian co-star!  Well, Monica was like Leslie Caron, Angie Dickinson, Delphine Seyrig, Natalie Wood. Unavailable. Wanting their favourite cameraman or refusing swimsuit scenes. (Difficult with that title). Alain Delon said: “What if I ask Romy?” For her,it was a gift from her god. Here-launched his on-off lover’sfading career. She was now a wife and mother, while he had one lover in the film (Madly), another visiting (Mireille Darc) before making a movie about (and with) the three of them (Madly, 1970).  Another director, Pierre Granier-Deferre,  tried to re-unite The Couple for  L’un contre l’autre. Ever the gent, Delon told him he couldn’t form  a couple with Romy – she was too old, too ravaged. Which gave Paris casting director-agent-producer Dominique Besnehard pause every time he saw a tearful Delon on TV going on about (yet again)  his great  love story with poor Romy.


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* According to French superstar Alain Delon, the producers wanted Monica  – or Angie Dickinson. Until he  persuaded his celebrated ex-lover, Romy Schneider, to jump into La piscine/The Pool, 1968.




8. – Irene Papas, Bloodline, 1979.    The legend says she wanted too much money.

9. – Claudia Cardinale, Un homme amoureux (US: A Man In Love), France-Italy, 1987.    On a movie set, Diane Kurys trawls through relationships: mothers-daughters, fathers-daughters, husbands-wives, lovers-friends… good scripts-bad.

10 – Christine Boisson, Identificazione du una donna/Identification of a Woman, Italy-France, 1981.    Written in 1966 by her mentor, Italian maestro Michelangelo Antonioni, as their fifth film, his first in America.  She has switched to frothing about in simple comedies and, finally, he shot it in Italy.

11 – Virna Lisi, La Reine Margot, France-Italy-Germany, 1993.   Producteur Claude Berriwanted an illustrious global star as the powerful Catherine de Médicis, circa 1572.  Realisateur Patrice Cherau went to the inevitable choices – and both Vitti and Sophia Loren turned him down.  Lisi, largely forgotten since her  ’60s’ heyday, saw the potential of the role. And  won Best Actress at the 1994 Cannes Festival when a certain gnashing of teeth could be heard all the way from Rome. 


 Birth year: 1931Death year: 2022Other name: Casting Calls:  11