It all began in a windowless room, a shower and a string of pithy maxims.
I was writing for “Filmmaker's Magazine,” filling a column dedicated to low and no-budget filmmaking, when I ran across a producer's comment:
“The perfect film is one that can be shot in a single, windowless room.”
Therein lay the whole secret: to come up with an idea that could guarantee the same result whether shot with a hundred million dollars or a hundred thousand.
So I started wondering what the "smallest" film possible would be like, one requiring the least space, the shortest time, the fewest actors and the stingiest means...
Then I saw “Sex Crimes” again and the shower scene where Kevin Bacon displays himself entirely in the nude. In that precise moment, I and the entire audience had our attention focused on something that the movies don't normally show and I reckoned that it would be fun if the film could continue with the story maintaining that same peak of interest...
Then, one evening while filing away a series of aphorisms concerning women, love and sex, I started wondering whether I could patch together a screenplay from such material, one however that wouldn't be "sentimental"...
All right, maybe a little sentimental, but with a pinch of suspense and a few healthy dashes of solidly sane insanity and gobs of cynicism... a film where the leading figure would be a penis, to be shot in a single day and to be entitled: “UncuT”... Now that struck me as an interesting project...
So I quickly got to writing the story and from there I went directly to the screenplay, whereupon I adopted a strategy that was at once cunning and prudent: I marched into the office of Beppe Attene (whose Lantia Films had just distributed “Medley”) and I told him the story, but only after he had shown a glimmer of interest, did I precisely define the particular “point of view” I had in mind.
He scratched his chin and answered that he'd think about it over the weekend.
Monday morning he rang me up announcing that at three o'clock there'd be a meeting with "UncuT" at the top of the agenda.
Not bad, considering that I had only slipped him the script Friday afternoon!...
And so the pre-production phase began and whether I was dealing with cool and jaded old-time movie hands or starry-eyed newbies who'd never seen a slate, every time we got to describing the project, the attitude of slack-jawed disbelief was the same.
Three weeks later, the first day of rehearsals: my legs felt like Jell-O. By now there were at least thirty people involved and a hefty pile of money invested, all on an idea that offered no money-back guarantees.
At the beginning of a film you're never sure of the outcome, all you know is that by hook or by crook something will come out. But we couldn't even be sure of that! It all depended on a Cd where the audio guide track was to be recorded, the one track we had to guide us safely in less than a week, through seventy-eight minutes of lensing.
-Gionata, I imagined you older.
-I'm old inside.
-Well, that's a start.
This was the first exchange I had with Franco Trentalance, who I met in person only on set. But I knew at once I could trust him, because he had a great sense of humor and I have blind faith in people who don't take the world or themselves too seriously.
With the actresses instead, it was kind of embarrassing at first, having to say things like: “Let him grope your ass until the music from the CD pops in,” but then, once the film got up to speed, they loosened up and started having fun and everything was easier, both for Cristina Mazzuzzi and Morena Ciotoli and especially for Luisa Corleone, who all considered, for the good of the movie went above and beyond the call of duty.
A few months later, I wrote about "UncuT" in my column at Filmmaker's Magazine, mentioning windowless rooms, the POV of a penis, and a book of pithy sayings... and so I closed the circle...