Producer’s team shows legs

De Laurentiis-backed soccer club scores

Aurelio De Laurentiis has scored — literally.

Just three years after acquiring the Napoli soccer team — which was stagnating in the minor leagues following its Diego Maradona glory days — the Neapolitan pic producer’s moolah and motivation have spurred the club to earn a place back in Serie A.

“I feel excited — like when I read a great script,” De Laurentiis says.

“But the story for this movie has only just started,” the nephew of Dino De Laurentiis hastens to add. “Now we want to be up there with the top soccer teams in the world.”

Neapolitans paraded in the streets en-masse last week, waving flags and kicking up a cacophony of honking horns to celebrate a tie game that earned the team the Serie A berth next seasonDe Laurentiis isn’t letting up on the film side, either. Lineup of his Filmauro shingle now includes Woody Allen‘s “Cassandra’s Dream,” likely to bow at the Venice fest. And De Laurentiis is shepherding “Italians,” a comedy satirizing the abominable behavior of Italian tourists, with Sergio Castelletto, Carlo Verdone and Riccardo Scamarcio attached to star.

While the windfall from TV rights and sponsorships resulting from Napoli’s new premier league status is expected to total north of $100 million, De Laurentiis insists he’s not about to start shelling out for star players.

“Our team’s 5 to 6 million fans across the planet know very well that I am averse to a soccer star system,” he underlines. “My type of game is a movie in which all the players are protagonists.”

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