×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sophia Loren Returning to the Screen in ‘The Life Ahead’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Oscar-winning actress Sophia Loren is back in front of the camera for her first feature film in a decade, directed by her son Edoardo Ponti in a movie in which she plays Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor who forges a bond with a 12-year-old Senegalese immigrant boy named Momo.

The film, titled “La vita davanti a sé” (“The Life Ahead”), is an adaptation of Romain Gary’s novel “La vie devant soi,” which was previously adapted for the big screen by Israeli filmmaker Moshe Mizrahi as “Madame Rosa,” starring Simone Signoret. That film won the 1978 foreign-language Oscar.

Loren, 84, plays the same role as Signoret, though Ponti said the two adaptations are very different. The film has begun shooting in Italy. Loren, who is working 10-hour days, said she is allowing herself to “express things on screen in a way that I think audiences will find very surprising.”

She added that her son wouldn’t settle for anything but her best. “He knows me so well. He knows every inch of my face, my heart, my soul. He will only move on to the next shot when I hit my deepest truth,” she said.

Ponti, who is directing his illustrious mother for the third time, declared her to be in great form.

“At 84 she wants to put it all on the line to make a movie that is so deep, so challenging, both emotionally and physically,” he said. “The energy and passion with which she approaches every scene is a marvel to watch.”

The rest of the cast comprises transgender Spanish actress Abril Zamora (“Locked Up”), Italy’s Renato Carpentieri (“Tenderness”) Iran’s Babak Karimi (“The Salesman”) and non-professional child actor Ibrahima Gueye, who plays Momo.

While Mizrahi’s work is told through the point of view of Madame Rosa, “our movie follows the point of view of the book, which is Momo,” Ponti said. The film is set in the present in the southern Italian port city of Bari and works on different levels, said Ponti.

The first is the story of love and friendship between Madame Rosa and Momo, two people who could not be more different “culturally, generationally, racially, religiously,” Ponti said. “And yet they are cut from the same cloth of pain and having been brought up in the streets.”

The second level is that it’s “the story of a modern family,” Ponti added.

Madame Rosa is a Holocaust survivor and the head of this family. “Her three children essentially are a 35-year-old transgender [woman], a 12-year-old Senegalese street kid, and a 10-year-old Romanian street kid.”

Then there is the political level, “which is almost unnecessary to bring up…because it is baked into every frame,” Ponti said, but it’s not explicit. “It’s best for us to focus on the characters, to focus on the emotions…and then it’s up to the audience to talk about the politics behind them.”

The plan is for “Life Ahead,” which is produced by Italy’s Palomar with some equity financing from U.S. investors, to be ready in March 2020.

More Film

  • dolittle-DRD_Tsr1Sht_1011_RGB_4_rgb-1

    Robert Downey Jr. Embarks on Perilous Journey in First 'Dolittle' Trailer (Watch)

    Robert Downey Jr. is setting sail with some furry friends in the first trailer for “Dolittle,” Universal Pictures’ reimagining of the classic story about a man who could speak to animals. “We have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey,” he says. Set to a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' Posts Powerful Opening in North America

    Bong Joon-Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has launched with a spectacular $376,264 at three U.S. theaters.  Neon opened “Parasite” at the The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and at the IFC Center in New York, where it broke the opening record set by 2014’s “Boyhood.” Its per-screen average [...]

  • Joker Movie

    'Joker' Dominates International Box Office With $124 Million

    “Joker” is showing impressive traction internationally with a second weekend of $123.7 million on 24,149 screens in 79 markets — a holdover decline of just 29%. Joaquin Phoenix’s psychological thriller has totaled $351.2 million outside North America after only 12 days in release. And with $192 million in domestic grosses, “Joker” has now topped $543 [...]

  • Joker

    'Joker' Remains Box Office Ruler With $55 Million

    Joaquin Phoenix is king of the North American box office once again as “Joker” scores an easy victory in its second weekend with $55 million at 4,374 sites. “Joker” dominated a trio of new entries with animated comedy “The Addams Family” leading the rest of pack with $30.3 million at 4,007 venues, topping forecasts. Will [...]

  • French director Bertrand Tavernier attends the

    Bertrand Tavernier on Coppola, Scorsese, Cayatte, Cinema’s Bright Future

    Veteran French director Bertrand Tavernier (“Round Midnight”) – president and director of the Institut Lumière and Lumière Festival, which he co-manages with Cannes’ Thierry Frémaux – has played a pivotal role in restoring classic French films and defending the importance of French directors, such as Claude Autant Lara, Henri Decoin and André Cayatte, who were [...]

  • 'Philharmonia'

    French Series 'Philharmonia' Sells to the U.K., the U.S. and Australia (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Philharmonia,” a French thriller series set in the world of a national orchestra, has been acquired in English-speaking territories from Lagardere Studios Distribution. “Philharmonia,” which was created and co-written by Marine Gacem, has been acquired by First Look Media’s Topic for SVOD rights in the U.S., and Walter Presents for the U.K. and Australia. “Philharmonia” [...]

  • US actor Donald Sutherland attends the

    Frances McDormand, Donald Sutherland Grace Lumière Festival Opening

    LYON  — The 11th Lumière Festival in Lyon, France, opened on Saturday with a celebration of its 10-year anniversary, a tribute to past Lumière Award recipients, and rousing standing ovations for Frances McDormand and Donald Sutherland, who are among the high-profile actors and filmmakers being feted this year. Dedicated to heritage cinema, the festival was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content