ROME — “This movie will be released in every theater in Italy. Without exception,” Roberto Benigni boasted cheekily Oct. 4 to Italo journos convened en-masse in Rome’s Grand Hotel St. Regis, following the preem of his latest pic, “The Tiger and the Snow.”
Indeed, as his Iraq war-set romantic tragicomedy preps to roll out Oct. 14 on 900 screens — one-third of the country’s total — the Benigni blitz is being touted as the widest Italian release ever.
“We’ve even talked to the pirates and cut a pirate distribution deal,” the helmer-thesp joked.
Benigni plays a poet who chases the love of his life — played by real-life wife Nicoletta Braschi — all the way to Baghdad at the outset of the U.S.-led invasion.
“It’s not an ideological movie,” he explained. “It’s about a little man who won’t be stopped by anything. Not by war. Not even by death. And dying is something I really don’t like: It’s going to be the last thing that I do.”