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Messages - LITTLE BIG MAN

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181

Jewels here are a few extra questions - hope you don't mind.

What was it like working with the Italian crew? 

Are you still in contact with any of the other actors?

What are your memories of Cinecitta in Rome?

What are your memories of the Williamsburg Brooklyn shoot?

Do you have any photographic memories from the shoot - that you would be able to post?  Hope you dont think I'm  being forward :-[

Looking forward to your reply  :)

Regards the Italian crew question.   James Woods tells a really funny story about one of the grips (Augusto Diamanti).   It was in Woods final scene with De Niro (as old men) at the at the Secretary Bailey Mansion.  In the scene (where De Niro has just left) Leone explained that for the scene the camera was going to dolly in on Woods face and at the last moment we would see a tear run down his face.  Anyway Woods psyched himself up for the scene - Morricone's haunting music was playing on the set - Leone shouted action - the camera slowly dollied up the ramp towards Woods - Woods felt the tears starting to well up inside -  but just then he noticed something out of the corner of his eye - he noticed  Augusto crouched at the side of  the camera WITH  A WHITE  PILLOW (EYES CUT OUT) OVER HIS HEAD!  Woods said "I nearly jumped out of my skin" and that "Augusto looked like something out of the KKK in Birth Of A Nation"!  When he asked him"what the hell was he doing"?  He said "sorry Jimmy I didn't want to intrude on your performance"!  ;D ;D ;D

Anyway James Woods thought the crew were brilliant.







I have to agree with James Woods, the crew was amazing!
When we shot the bathtub scene, I was nervous about being naked around all those Italian men.
They were so wonderful,very protective of me and completely respectful. One of the wardrobe people kept ironing a bathrobe for me so in between takes, I was wrapped in a warm bathrobe! How's that for star treatment?
My favorite person on the crew was Tonino Dellicolli (DP) incredibly sweet and funny and ....tiny! Like a little elf. I think he liked me because I'm small, too.
I still have this little button he gave me, it has a picture of puckered lips and it says "Baci" - kiss. He gave them out to everyone, it was his little gesture. Such a great talent and so great to work with.

I'm not in touch with any of the actors, I ran into Brian Bloom a couple of years ago here in LA and it was great to see him again. He did a soap for a long time and  now you can see him in a Cadillac commercial. We had a great talk, neither one of us knew how important the film and that staircase scene would become over the years. He's incredibly handsome, those eyes! Adrian Curran and I dated for a little while in Rome and after we got back to NYC. He was a drummer, wonder where he is now?

Memories of Cinecitta are great, it really was like a city. I would go and watch filming on the days I wasn't working and just soak up the atmosphere.
Around 4 in the afternoon, when everyone was getting a little tired, they'd come around with hot crispy bread and espresso for a little pick me up.
It was a family feeling on the set, people were always going to restaurants together and talking about things to do on our days off.  Someone on the crew
(I wish I could remember who!) loaned me a Vespa scooter so I could boogie around Rome.
I got friendly with an American an actor working on the film as one of Bugsy's thugs - Scott Coffey. He was living in Rome and working at Cinecitta quite often as an extra and in bit parts. Later he moved back to the states and turned up in good roles in several major movies later on - "Satisfaction" with Julia Roberts,
"Ellie Parker" with Naomi Watts, a couple of others. 

I dug around and found a photo from that bathtub scene. I'll scan and post it soon-
Fun reminiscing with you guys!
peace!




Wonderful recollections Jewells and absolutely fascinating for all us OUATIA buffs O0  

Tonino Delli Colli sounded a great guy - thought you would find this (his last) interview interesting  www.theasc.com/magazine/mar05/colli/page1.html

Brian Bloom seems to pop up a lot in CSI - I'm sure I've seen him in all three shows.

Scott Coffey I'm sure he's the  thug with the crazy spiky haircut?  Always thought his hair looked a bit out of place for the 1920's ???

Regards Adrian Curran (where is he now) www.adriancurran.remax-hearthstone-ny.com/home/default.aspx

Rusty Jacobs (Young Max)    www.flickr.com/search/?q=rusty+jacobs    www.wunc.org    wunc@wunc.org

If you do contact these guys Jewels - maybe you would be kind enough to ask them to drop us a line :)  and maybe they could also share their recollections.

Thanks again.

182
Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Locations
« on: July 08, 2008, 07:35:17 AM »
Thanks to Jewels we now know that the toilet scene was filmed at Cinecitta and the hallway scenes in Chinatown.



The view from this window looks genuine and the bridge structure and height very similar to the Chinatown end of Manhattan bridge. 













Best guess at the moment is a building to the south of Henry St or Madison St







A1 Your work on this thread is nothing short of staggering - absolutely indispensable.

Kudos  :)

183
That's him!
Seeing his face, I totally remember him.
Is he credited as "Dialogue Coach" ?

In the famous staircase scene (Patsy & the charlotte russe) they shot it MOS (without sound) probably because Leone knew it would be set to music.
Leone talked Brian Bloom through every step of that scene, timing it exactly how he wanted it - "Now unwrap it, now look to the door, now lick the paper"
I mean SO specific! Leone was saying all this in Italian and Brian Freilino was translating every step of the way.





Thanks Jewels - yes he's listed as Dialogue Director.

Thanks also for the great Info on the Charlotte Russe scene - amazing - OMG to think that you were there watching that beautiful scene being filmed - just amazing.

Jewels here are a few extra questions - hope you don't mind.

What was it like working with the Italian crew? 

Are you still in contact with any of the other actors?

What are your memories of Cinecitta in Rome?

What are your memories of the Williamsburg Brooklyn shoot?

Do you have any photographic memories from the shoot - that you would be able to post?  Hope you dont think I'm  being forward :-[

Looking forward to your reply  :)

Regards the Italian crew question.   James Woods tells a really funny story about one of the grips (Augusto Diamanti).   It was in Woods final scene with De Niro (as old men) at the at the Secretary Bailey Mansion.  In the scene (where De Niro has just left) Leone explained that for the scene the camera was going to dolly in on Woods face and at the last moment we would see a tear run down his face.  Anyway Woods psyched himself up for the scene - Morricone's haunting music was playing on the set - Leone shouted action - the camera slowly dollied up the ramp towards Woods - Woods felt the tears starting to well up inside -  but just then he noticed something out of the corner of his eye - he noticed  Augusto crouched at the side of  the camera WITH  A WHITE  PILLOW (EYES CUT OUT) OVER HIS HEAD!  Woods said "I nearly jumped out of my skin" and that "Augusto looked like something out of the KKK in Birth Of A Nation"!  When he asked him"what the hell was he doing"?  He said "sorry Jimmy I didn't want to intrude on your performance"!  ;D ;D ;D

Anyway James Woods thought the crew were brilliant.





184








Had a part in Godfather III (Stockholder)




Thanks A1 (brilliant) can always rely on you my friend.

Yeah that’s him in the first photo A1 (with script)   And yes that’s also him too (slightly obscured by Leone) in the Fat Moe photo. That may be him leaning against the wagon in the third photo (combat jacket like first photo) and it may be him in the bottom left (with glasses) crew photo.  And yes that looks like him acting in Godfather III.   At first I thought Freilino was the script supervisor but there doesn’t seem to be a script supervisor listed in the credits – maybe he was doing both jobs.
There is another famous set photo he is in A1– it’s the photo where Leone is rehearsing the scene with Scott Tiler - where he is being hit over the head with the police baton (this photo is cropped) – in the expanded photo Freilino is also very animated like Leone - he looks as though he is also acting out the scene (maybe in English).

There is a mention of him in Frayling’s book – he was present at the NY auditions with Leone and De Niro.

Hopefully Jewels will confirm.





185

I'm really proud to have been part of it.  I was 18, and it was the best acting job I had gotten up to that point. I mean, I got to go to Italy!!
All of us kids stayed in the same hotel in Rome and had the time of our lives!
I don't think any of us realized how important the film would become over the years, especially since it turned out to be his last.
When I auditioned, I didn't really know who Leone was, just that he had directed "spaghetti westerns"
Of course, after I was cast I rented ALL of his films and became a huge fan.
My favorite: "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"
Coincidentally,  a few years after OUATIA I was in a play in NYC with the GREAT Eli Wallach. He is one of my great heroes, a class act all the way.
We traded a few Leone stories backstage. Wallach LOVED OUATIA. He made a joke about being cast as a Mexican and then Leone casting an Italian as a Jew!


As far as communicating with Leone, he spoke some English, but not much. It was very charming. There was a guy on the crew who spoke Italian and English and was working as his translator specifically for the actors. I can't remember his name but he is credited as "Dialogue Coach" I believe.
One great story:
We were shooting the scene on the roof, Leone was doing the master shot from the roof next door.
He called action and then shouted to me across the rooftops in that thick accent "Okay, Julie, start F***ING!"
The memory of it makes me laugh out loud.

Julie I think the Dialogue coach was a guy named Brian Freilino -  Italian American (balding/thick dark moustache) - there is a photo of him (A1's Location thread) standing on the steps (script in hand) on the Mausoleum set.  There is actually a better photo I've seen of him - where he standing with Leone on set - the scene where Fat Moe is tied up and being interrogated - Leone is showing one of the Thugs how to put the pistol in Fat Moe's mouth - but for the life of me I cant seem to find it - maybe another poster could help out - and you could let us know if this is the guy.













186
Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Locations
« on: July 05, 2008, 09:03:01 PM »
Wow, A1!
That is amazing location work!
My name is Jewels (Julie Cohen) I played Young Peggy in the film.
I was going to respond to your earlier post asking about the rooftop scene, but when I kept scrolling down, I saw you had figured it out. Amazing!
It was great for me when we filmed that scene because I was living in Soho at the time and walked about a half a block to go to work.
One incredible thing to me was that the crew had to go around the neighborhood for a couple of weeks before the shoot and persuade people to let them take down their TV antennas. As you've said this was way before any CGI.
Another great memory of shooting that scene-
Denier came to the set that day for an old age make up test. I totally DID NOT recognize him!
He watched us shoot the scene and afterwards gave me a hug (yes, a HUG!) and told me I did a good job. It meant so much to me....
It was actually the only time I met him while working on the film.

I'm really enjoying cruising around this board and I'm happy to answer questions about my experience working on OUATIA.
Peace!


Hi Julie (Jewels) - Really kind of you to come on and share your recollections with us of the OUATIA shoot and especially your meeting with the great Bobby D - Great Story :)

Thought you (& other posters) would be interested in the amazing lengths De Niro went to to portray the elderly Noodles.  One of the first things he did, was to study the behaviour of elderly people, to arrange a series of makeup tests and to practise ageing his voice.  "It took so long to put the makeup on - four to six hours - that I was so tired I had to look old.  You get up at three, start at four, and go to work at eight or nine.  After weeks of tests with De Niro's first choice of make up artist Chris Tucker (Elephant Man) - De Niro/Leone took on three Italians - Jacoponi/Rocchetti/Zamprioli "One of the great make - up jobs in movie history (Leone). "De Niro put on that makeup for two and a half months.  And he had to shave his head and his cheeks.  He entered into the spirit of things with a made love, a professionalism and a total obedience.  He loves his craft so much" (Leone).  There is a great photo of De Niro in full makeup/costume as the elderly Noodles sitting sleeping at the Mausoleum Riversdale Cemetery scene - while the crew go about their business.  Also remember Leone telling a story - when the cast/crew had finished a long days shooting and were thinking about going home or going for dinner - De Niro was still acting like an old man - asking for extra blankets while he was in his trailer!

Anyway Jewels keep the stories coming :)

PS Your scene with Scott Tiler (toilet) is one of the great scenes in the film - you really hit it out the Ball Park ;)

187
Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: June 26, 2008, 07:48:04 AM »
Sorry didn’t t want to rain on everyone’s parade - but I spoke to a nice lady recently at Warner Brothers West Coast Home Entertainment Dept. (SNR EXEC) she stated that she had heard nothing regarding a new Directors Cut DVD release of OUATIA.  She knew all about all WB’s forthcoming Special Editions and OUATIA wasn’t one of them!  Also she had been at the Venice Film Festival and stated she would have heard something.  Sorry guys & girls but that’s what she told me.

189
Sorry I couldn't oblige Titoli, but since the review was from the trade rag Variety- their reviews tend to be thorough, plot, spoilers and all, so I didn't want to P** off all the Sergio vetran members (who might want to go see the movie) with my first post!  Anyhoo you know where you can read the full review.   For the record the film stars Brad Pitt (James) and Casey Affleck (Ford) - and according to the review, they both deliver sterling work.  Also there seems to be a bit of Sergio type history with this movie (Studio V Director) - the directors early 3 hour cut received mixed test screening results as did the later studio cut - in the end a compromise was reached and a new studio/director agreed version will screen in December.

190
Hi Guys,

First time on the General Discussion Board - hope everyone is enjoying a great wknd. 

Anyway down to business.   I came across this film review today by my favourite film critic Todd McCarthy of Variety.  Now whats got me really excited about this film is McCarthy calls this "One of the best Westerns of the 1970s"! And this from a critic that doesn't dish out praise lightly!  The film premiers at Venice this week and opens in the US in December (for Oscar consideration).

Here is the first three paragraphs of the review, I don't want to give any spoilers, although the films title is obviously one!

A ravishing, magisterial, poetic epic that moves its characters toward their tragic destinies with all the implacability of a Greek drama, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" is one of the best Westerns of the 1970s, which represents the highest possible praise. It's a magnificent throwback to a time when filmmakers found all sorts of ways to refashion Hollywood's oldest and most durable genre. Given the narrower current notion of what constitutes an acceptable commercial feature, Andrew Dominik's daring high-wire act will trod a very hard road to find secure theatrical footing, which suggests Warner Bros. might do best to nurture it in a small number of theaters in the hope that critical support and word of mouth will snowball into long runs and a slow rollout.
 
Whether it directly resembles them or not, this impeccable new picture is at one with the adventurous spirit that produced such films as "McCabe & Mrs. Miller," "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid," "Bad Company," "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid," "Jeremiah Johnson," "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Days of Heaven," "The Long Riders" and, yes, "Heaven's Gate," rather than with anything being made today.

Shot two years ago and long delayed in editing, pic marks an enormous advance for Dominik beyond his 2000 Aussie prison crimer "Chopper." Elegant, artful and consumed by a fascination with American history and Western lore, his adaptation of Ron Hansen's popular 1983 novel retells the once overworked ground of outlaw legend so thoroughly that it has become fertile once again. Pic's hefty 160-minute running time will no doubt cause carping in some quarters, but this is one film whose length seems absolutely right for what it's doing.

191
Once Upon A Time In America / Re: JOHN BELUSHI AND OUATIA
« on: August 27, 2007, 11:24:23 AM »
Not many films take you in like this. It's quite simply...captivating - just finished reading your review Tucumcari (kept it till last) - great read and you've answered my question.

Thanks

192
Once Upon A Time In America / Re: JOHN BELUSHI AND OUATIA
« on: August 26, 2007, 01:22:43 PM »
Thanks Tucumcari - is OUATIA your favourite Leone movie?

193
Once Upon A Time In America / Re: JOHN BELUSHI AND OUATIA
« on: August 25, 2007, 02:40:14 PM »
Thanks again everyone.  I plan to post as much new Info on OUATIA as possible- please don't think I'm trying to be a smart A**, I'm a huge fan of OUATIA and would like to share my Info with all fellow fans.  Apologies in advance if you already know any of it - great if you don't.  Thanks for all your great posts and Info - I'm having a great time reading through them all - keep them coming.

194
Once Upon A Time In America / Re: JOHN BELUSHI AND OUATIA
« on: August 25, 2007, 03:45:53 AM »
Thanks guys – for making me welcome.  Sorry Mike the book is back at the library!  But the Belushi link is confirmed in Frayling’s Something To Do With Death (page 444) – “During pre – production, in early 1982 March 1982, De Niro had discussed with John Belushi a possible part in Leone’s film.  This is one reason why he was he was with the actor at the Chateau Marmont Hotel the night before he died of a drug overdose.  Maybe he had Belushi in mind for Fat Moe.  While America was being filmed, four months later, De Niro gave evidence about the circumstances of his friend’s death by telephone from Rome.  The police were by then treating the case as a homicide inquiry, and had tried in vain to get the actor to appear in person.  This made him particularly tense.”  The book covers the full casting process in OUATIA – for example for the part of Max – two hundred actors were auditioned for the part.  Leone recalled that “De Niro wanted to cast one of his friends in the part “and we did numerous tests with his cronies”.  Happily, he is an honest man.  When he saw these tests, he had to agree with me that none of his friends could really play Max.”   I wonder if this particular actor Leone was talking about was Christopher Walken - who is also is mentioned in the Belushi book!  Or maybe Harvey Keitel who is mentioned along with – William Hurt, Jon Voight and John Malkovich in the OUATIA BFI Modern Classics book?

Regards the Leone biography: Something To Do With Death – the section on OUATIA runs for 80 plus pages – it’s very thorough (the book is over 500 pages).  Anyone who hasn’t read this book and loves all things Leone – should put this to the top of their hit list.  Regards Belushi - the book was made into a very poor movie (Wired) – there is a much better Discovery documentary that also covers the last 24 hours in Belushi’s life.

195
Once Upon A Time In America / JOHN BELUSHI AND OUATIA
« on: August 24, 2007, 01:55:04 PM »
Hi Guys,

Hope everyone is well.

Sorry not posted for a very long time – “I’ve been going to bed early”!   Anyway thought you might find this interesting.  I was reading the John Belushi biography Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi by Bob Woodward.  Belushi as we all know died of a drug overdose (March 5th 1982) at the Chateau Marmont Sunset Boulevard in LA.  On the day he died - he had earlier had met with his friends Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, he had been in discussions with De Niro for a part in OUATIA.  I don’t know which part but I’m sure I read (elsewhere) it was for the part of either Fat Moe or Frankie Rinaldi.  According to the book Belushi had wanted to branch out into more dramatic roles, he saw the Deer Hunter (which had a profound effect on him).  He ended up becoming good friends with De Niro – De Niro was a big fan of the SNL crowd and was looking to cross over into comedy roles.  This would have been around pre production/ casting on OUATIA – the film started shooting mid June 1982 (according to the Frayling Bible).  In the Woodward book Treat Williams (Jimmy Conway) gets a few mentions (another De Niro buddy) and I think it was also around this time also that De Niro (who was heavily involved in the casting process) noticed William Forsythe (Cockeye) in a TV episode of CHIPS!  I think he played the leader of a biker gang! 

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