Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The Brothers Grimm: Monica Bellucci
MONICA BELLUCCI - the sexiest star of “The Brothers Grimm”
Imagine if you got into trouble with the law. Wouldn’t you want a lawyer who was savvy, tough, shrewd and drop dead gorgeous? While it seems rather remote that the pursuit of justice would offer such a combustible combination, it almost happened in Italy. But instead of finishing her law degree at the University of Perugia, Monica Bellucci’s fate was sealed when a modeling career sidelined her legal ambitions.
Hollywood came calling and Bellucci worked in such hit films as THE MATRIX RELOADED, THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST before taking a well deserved maternity break for her daughter Deva.
Now she’s back in The Brothers Grimm… Here's what she had to say:
As a child, what do you remember about Fairy Tales?
BELLUCCI: We all grew up with fairy tales. My favorite one was “Sleeping Beauty”, maybe because of the Prince. All little girls are waiting for a Prince. This is what I liked about the movie. In the film there are so many references to all the Grimm Fairy Tales. It’s like all these Fairy Tales came together to make a new tale, which is a combination of fantasy and fear. Because of that, we can recognize the Terry Gilliam trademark. If you think about BARON MUNCHAUSEN and BRAZIL, you can see the same amazing world.
It does seem ironic that these stories are filled with fear and death and yet children are exposed to it at such an early age.
BELLUCCI: But they love that. Children love to get scared. They need fantasy and dreams, just like us. When you tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood, they love the wolf and getting scared. We all love that because it is about our curiosity. Beyond each fairy tale is a meaning and that is why it is interesting. This is not a film filled with just special effects. It is cultivated and very intelligent and for me, it is a metaphor. Look at my character. She is an evil Queen who casts a spell on herself for immortality. But she forgets to ask for eternal youth and beauty as well. There is a metaphor in that for anyone who believes in their image; anyone who believes that their image is who they are. If the image of that myth is destroyed, then that person gets destroyed along with it. That is why this film is so perfect. We are all victims of vanity, especially actors.
Here you are a beautiful woman who has to distort that image to play a 500 year old woman.
BELLUCCI: This was interesting. It was a challenging part because of the dual role of the young Queen and the old Queen and I had to play both forces. I had so much to do and it was fun. The make-up process was hours but in the end, when you see the final work, I was so surprised to see what I looked like. It was very strong.
How much does a director like Terry Gilliam challenge you as an actor?
BELLUCCI: Terry has such an imagination. He is like a baby full of fantasy and he knows what he wants. At the same time, he realizes what he wants from actors when he is directing them. He is challenged by the unexpected and so you have to be ready as an actress. He wants so much from you..
What are your own thoughts about eternal beauty?
BELLUCCI: It is impossible. I do think it is more a problem for American actresses. It is more Hollywood obsession than European obsession. In Europe, we have so many actresses like Charlotte Rampling and Catherine Denueve and Sophia Loren still play sexy characters that are their own age. Here, it is so strange. After a while, even young and beautiful actresses don’t work anymore.
Let’s look at the morals of Fairy Tales. Is it healthy to teach young girls that one day their Prince will come along?
BELLUCCI: Yes. We need to dream. If we don’t dream, we cannot live. It is not just for children. It is for us as well. We need to believe in something. We need that.
Terry is not a filmmaker who likes to turn to computer effects. He likes to work in camera. Because your character has to age to two different time frames, two different sets had to be constructed. How difficult was that for you at times to play against both of those set productions?
BELLUCCI: I had to do both. I had to play the old Queen, the young Queen, both voices, the Queen in the mirror who ages and it was all great. I loved to work with him. It was not predictable and the film reflects that. It is very cultivated and it is Terry Gilliam’s signature.
While this film is a fantasy, what is your own relationship to the supernatural? Do you believe in any of it?
BELLUCCI: I think we all need magic. As we never know what will happen next, you could get a phone call and have to go to Japan or someplace else. So I believe in magic of the moment.
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Posted by Matt Adcock at 8:41 pm