ROME — Shooting gets under way today in Tuscany on director Giovanni Veronesi’s “My West,” an allegorical Western fable that stars Italian box office record-breaker Leonardo Pieraccioni alongside Harvey Keitel, David Bowie and Sandrine Holt.
Produced by Vittorio and Rita Cecchi Gori and exec produced by Mario Cotone, the $10 million, English-language feature will be officially announced at Cannes, where the Cecchi Gori Group will be looking for presales.
Based on Vincenzo Pardini’s novel “Jodo Cartamigli,” the film was co-scripted by Veronesi and Pieraccioni, who is taking a hiatus from directing this year after rewriting national B.O. history with his back-to-back megahits, “The Cyclone” and “Fireworks.”
A throwback to the spaghetti Western days of Sergio Leone, the film is set in the fictitious town of Basinfield in America’s Old West, but will be filmed entirely in rugged Garfagnana. Framed by the Apuane Alps, the area’s barren landscapes bear little relation to the rolling green hills of Tuscany seen in most films set in the region.
Supplying the film’s comedy element, Pieraccioni plays the small town’s unconventional, pacifist medic, who is married to a Native American woman played by Holt (“Rapa Nui”). Keitel plays the doc’s father, a legendary gunslinger returning for a conflict-ridden reunion after 20 years’ absence. Bowie is cast as a ruthless pistolero bent on eliminating Keitel and claiming the title of fastest gun in the West. Seventy members of the Blackfoot tribe also are being flown in from Canada for the shoot.
“The story of ‘My West’ for me transcends all borders,” said Keitel at a Friday press conference in Rome. “It’s about myths and symbols. It encompasses our awareness of the need for a family to come together, even after a long separation.”
The pic is one of three projects Keitel has in the works in Italy. He also will star as Shylock in Marco Bellocchio’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” and is attached to Lina Wertmuller’s drama set during the Bosnian conflict, “An Interesting State.”
“My West” will continue shooting through July 26 and is slated for a Christmas release in Italy. Spanish lenser Jose Luis Alcaine is d.p. on the film, which will be scored by composer Pino Donaggio, with costumes by Maurizio Millenotti and production design by Francesco Friggeri.