ROME – Pluriprized Italo auteur Gianni Amelio is back behind camera on an adaptation of “The Temptation to Be Happy,” a hot Naples-set novel about a cynical old widower whose life is changed by a woman who is a victim of domestic violence.
Neapolitan stage actor Renato Carpentieri, who starred in Amelio’s Oscar-nominated “Open Doors,” is playing the lead amid an A-list Italian cast also comprising Elio Germano (“My Brother is an Only Child,” “Our Life,”); Giovanna Mezzogiorno (“Vincere”); and Micaela Ramazzotti (“The First Beautiful Thing”).
Pic is inspired by Neapolitan author Lorenzo Marone’s local bestseller “The Temptation to Be Happy,” which was among the Berlin Film Festival’s 2015 “Books at Berlinale,” selected in tandem with the Frankfurt book fair as tomes that could be the basis for good movies.
Tale of wry self-centred 77-year-old widower Cesare Annunziata who eventually rescues Emma, a younger woman who moves into his building and has a shady husband who beats her, has been a local best-seller. It is being published internationally in the U.K., France, Germany, and other countries.
Naples is becoming the Italian city attracting most attention from international culture vultures lately thanks to Elena Ferrante’s “Neapolitan Novels” now being made into a TV series by Fremantle and Fandango.
Agostino Sacca’s Rome-based Pepito Productions and Rai Cinema are co-producing Amelio’s latest which, while based on “Temptation,” is still untitled. Pic started shooting March 10 in Naples.
Amelio’s previous features include “Lamerica,” “Stolen Children,” which took the Cannes Grand Prix, “Open Doors,” and Venice Golden Lion winner “The Way We Laughed.”