I felt like a nerd at Comic-Con; how do you interview a director like Paolo Genovese and remain professional when you really are a huge fan and you really have watched La Banda Dei Babbi Natale 10 times?
You can’t. Anyway, I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop reminding him how cool he is and how much fun his movies are, the funnest by far, Perfetti Sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers), the one that won Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Perfect Strangers is a comedy about seven friends at a dinner party playing a game of “chicken” with their cell phones. The rules are simple: Put yours in the middle of the dining room table and share all calls and messages with everyone there. Once it’s suggested, nobody has the guts to admit it’s a bad idea, and let’s just say their friendships are tested.
I asked him about possible remakes in other countries and languages and he told me the rumors are true, there’s definite interest in making them, and Paolo may be involved in the productions.
But will it be the same, or will cultural difference change the story?
“No”, Paolo shook his head, “it’s a universal thing.” A human being and his cell phone is pretty much the same worldwide.
Here’s the top 10 things I learned about Paolo Genovese:
“Your dialogue is AWESOME”, I told Paolo, and I asked him for his secret to awesome dialogue.
“At an ordinary dinner party there are lulls and bits of boring conversation, so in a screenplay you have to make it all about the interesting parts and still make it seem natural,” and that sounds easy, but it’s definitely not, or everyone would be able to do it. Of course the superb acting by A-list actors Alba Rohrwacher, Edoardo Leo, Marco Giallini, Kasia Smutniak, Valerio Mastandrea, Anna Foglietta, and Giuseppe Battiston helps, but Paolo has a rare talent of making fascinating conversation sound ordinary, like we’re right there at the table and could jump in at any time.
I have one more idea for you Paolo: Perfetti Sconosciuti – The Board Game
Players advance on the board and win the game with calls and texts from ex-girlfriends and secret lovers garnering the most points. Here’s the advertisement: Perfetti Sconosciuti, the game that starts with FUN and ends with DIVORCE! (Again, no charge for the great idea).