ROME — Italian director with Hollywood credentials Gabriele Muccino (“The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Seven Pounds”) is set to shoot “Summertime,” an ensemble coming-of-age/road movie set in Rome, San Francisco, New Orleans and Cuba “about four youths in that unique unrepeatable formative phase after high school, before college, during which they crack the shell of adolescence,” he said.
For the four main roles in this mostly English-language pic, Muccino has cast Matilda Lutz, the emerging Italian actress who will play the lead in the next chapter in the “Ring” franchise; locally hot Italian TV actor Brando Pacitto (“Braccialetti Rossi”); and young U.S. actors Joseph Haro (“Glee,” “Welcome to the Family”) and Taylor Frey (“Gossip Girl,” G.B.F.).
The two U.S. thesps — cast by prominent casting agent Denise Chamian, who worked with Muccino on his Will Smith-starrers — will play a young gay couple whom the Italian characters, Marco and Maria, meet up with when they end up in San Francisco together, even though the Italos dislike each other.
“It’s about four young people searching for their identities and existences,” said Muccino. “This summer voyage sparks group dynamics that not only define their different cultural explorations, but also prompt unexpected emotional interplay.” “There are dynamics of falling in love, of infatuation, of unrequited fascination,” he explained.
Budgeted at Euros 5.5 million ($5.8 million), “Summertime” is being produced by expanding Italian shingle Indiana Production (“Human Capital”) in collaboration with Rai Cinema, which will release in Italy via its 01 Distribution unit. Negotiations are ongoing with a world sales agent who will kick off sales in Cannes.
It’s an indie film that I wrote myself, with an American friend named Dale Nall. This gives me great expressive powers,” said Muccino whose latest film, Russell Crowe-Amanda Seyfried starrer “Fathers and Daughters,” is from a Black List script by Brad Desch.
“Fathers and Daughters” will be released in late October in Italy by 01. Muccino said he expects Voltage Films to finalize a U.S. distribution deal for the fatherhood drama in the next couple of weeks.
About “Summertime,” Muccino noted that “it’s wider than my previous (Italian-produced) movies. It’s for a broader audience, not just because it’s in English, but also because it’s about the discovery of sexuality.”
“This summer becomes a unique transition, and every generation has had a memorable, unrepeatable summer,” he said.
Muccino’s breakout 2001 Italian dramedy “The Last Kiss” was about Italian thirtysomethings who don’t want to grow up.
Italian rap/pop star Lorenzo Cherubini, whose stage name is Jovanotti, is likely to score “Summertime,” besides having written its theme song “L’Estate Addosso” (the pic’s Italian title), which is already in release in Italy.
Next up, Muccino has plans for an adaptation of Erica Jong’s epochal erotic novel “Fear of Flying,” being developing with U.S. producer Donald Kushner (“Tron Legacy,” “Monster”), who optioned rights to the bestseller from Sony. “I think I’ve cracked the formula to bring “Fear of Flying” to the bigscreen,” said Muccino, who hopes to start shooting “Flying” next fall.