Synopsis : An American mom (Toni Collette) inherits her grandfather’s mafia empire in Italy. Guided by the firm’s consigliere (Monica Bellucci), she hilariously defies everyone’s expectations as the new head of the family business.
Rating: R (Bloody Violence|Sexual Content|Language)
Genre: Comedy, Action
Original Language: English
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Producer: Amanda Sthers, Toni Collette, Christopher Simon
Writer: J. Michael Feldman, Debbie Jhoon
Release Date (Theaters): Apr 14, 2023 Wide
Runtime: 1h 41m
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Production Co: Edver Films, Lipsync, Cornerstone Films, New Sparta Films, Cattleya, Vocab Films, Ingenious Media, Idea(L)
Exclusive Interview with Actress Monica Bellucci
Q: You started your career in Italy, and faced the lack of opportunities, you turned to developing your international acting career. Eventually, you moved to France. What were the toughest things you faced when you made the move to France?
Monica: When I was very young, watching TV and films, I discovered French cinema through the films I was watching. When I went to Paris, I was following a dream in a way. Of course, I dreamed of those Italian leading ladies like Sofia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Silvana Mangano, and Monica Vitti, etc, but when I went to Paris, it became a dream come true for you. I was very lucky because I went there at a time when French cinema was so creative and crazy.
I did films that were completely crazy like “Irreversible,” “Doberman” and “Brotherhood of the Wolf.” It was a special and creative moment in France with all those new directors. And then, through Italian movies such as “Malena” or French films like ‘Irreversible,’ it became possible to make an international career. Then, I did my first American movie thanks to a French movie, ‘L’appartement’ which won the BAFTA.
An English director saw the movie and chose me for a film with Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman. This was my first American movie. In my life as an actress, I don’t belong to any family of cinema, moving from one country to another. For me, the way I like to approach my work, I [treat it] as an experience, not just as an actress, but also as a person. I’ve had the chance to work with all these different directors from different countries, cultures and speaking languages.
Q: Let’s talk about this movie. When you think about The Mafia it’s often thought of as a male dominated underground world, but this film has two strong women at its center. What was fascinating about this film that made you decide to tackle it?
Monica: First of all, I have to say that the script was amazing. I laughed out loud, and for me, this was really a challenge because comedy is a genre which I’ve done very little in my career. I’m very grateful that after my appearance in “Call My Agent!,” I had the chance to play in a comedy again. Also, I’m a huge fan of Toni Collette, so I really wanted to work with her because she’s incredible. We all know her talent, but I didn’t know about her incredible energy in real life.
She was a great ally in the film, and we built a beautiful relationship. We were always bouncing off of each other, and there are some scenes in the film that are completely improvised. Take for example, the scene in the bed that we do together — we knew the lines but I didn’t know how to play it so I went close to her, and then, little by little, this scene emerged out of nowhere. It’s so funny and really worked very well. This is possible when you have a really beautiful empathy with someone.
I think that Catherine Hardwick really helped us so much because she gave us the freedom to work that way. Catherine is so elegant and refined in her creative sensibility, she has good taste, and was never scared to try something sublime in what was a really great script, even when you’ve gone too far. Also, Sophia Nomvete is great. She plays Christine’s lawyer, and there’s Jenny, and she’s amazing. You have these three women in a man’s world. But we were very lucky because we had this incredible cast of actors.
They were amazing. Also, we were in Rome, which is the perfect place for [a film like this], it’s so beautiful and has amazing energy. People who see the movie can discover the beauty of Rome through it. Last night, we had the premiere, and it was incredible to see the reaction of the people. It was the first time that we saw the film with an audience. I realized that it’s not just a comedy — it’s a comedy about the world of the Mafia, with a feminine twist.
Q: When you’re young, beauty comes naturally, but at this stage of your life, what do you think about your beauty now?
Monica: I’m an adult woman, I don’t want to look 20 or 30. I have two daughters, and that’s just the way I am. Of course, I take care of myself, but I think that adult women today are beautiful. It’s not just a matter of physical beauty, but maybe that’s obvious — beauty comes from something else. Beauty comes from your soul, the way you behave, how you relate to yourself and others. That’s beauty.
Q: You’ve worked with such top notch directors as Francis Ford Coppola, and Giuseppe Tornatore among others but is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you’d really want to work with now, someone who you’re fascinated by?
Monica: Oh, there are so many. I like what’s unpredictable. I love to work, of course, I still have this passion and I’m so lucky. But I’m not like how I was when I was younger — wanting to work all the time. I also like to have time for myself. I have lived the lives of others playing different characters so much. Now, I like to live my life as a person who’s taking care of my real life. I love to work but I now take time for my family, my kids, and then, to make something beautiful once in a while. That’s the way I perceive my life now.
Q: You’ve had great learning experiences from some of the best directors but why haven’t you sat behind the camera and directed?
Monica: I have too much respect for cinema. It’s not actually something I want to do. Maybe I can produce one day if I really like something. I actually think I still have to learn so much as an actress so that I like my work. I will leave others to be directors. It’s not something that I dream about.
Q: What do you want the audience to take away from Mafia Mamma, this wonderful film.
Monica: All I can say is that we need beauty, poetry, and fun [in life] and it’s nice to see a beautiful, well-done comedy like “Mafia Mamma.”
Here’s the trailer of the film.