Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Angela Bassett and more Jumping The Broom casting news.

I swear this is not going to turn into the JTB blog but I'm very excited about the latest news about our movie.

From The Hollywood Reporter:


By Borys Kit and Jay A. Fernandez

June 29, 2010, 11:00 PM ET

Angela Bassett will star alongside Paula Patton in Columbia's "Jumping the Broom," a wedding-themed ensemble comedy directed by Salim Akil.

Also joining the cast are Laz Alonso, Loretta Devine and Romeo Miller.

"Broom" revolves around the clash of two black families from opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum meeting for the first time during a weekend wedding in Martha's Vineyard.

Bassett will play Patton's mother, an heiress and a pillar of the Washington elite. Miller plays Patton's cousin, a senior at Yale. Alonso will play Patton's love interest. Shooting begins in early summer in Nova Scotia.

Arlene Gibbs wrote the script, which is undergoing a minor rewrite by Elizabeth Hunter. Bishop T.D. Jakes, Curtis Wallace, Tracey Edmonds, Glendon Palmer and Elizabeth Hunter are producing.

Bassett just wrapped shooting on "Green Lantern," playing Dr. Amanda Waller in the Martin Campbell-helmed Warner Bros. tentpole. She is casting her directorial debut, "United States," which is slated to go before cameras in the fall. She is repped by Gersh and Lighthouse Entertainment

Alonso, repped by ICM and Thruline, appeared in "Avatar" and has the remake of "Straw Dogs" in the can. Devine, repped by Innovative Artists, appeared in the April release "Death at a Funeral"; rapper-actor Miller, repped by Fortitude and Adam Robinson, toplined the 2004-06 Nickelodeon series "Romeo!"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Michelle at Bleeding Espresso writes about the Amanda Knox case

I have been asked by many Americans what I think about this case.

To be honest I stop reading the American press and websites that discussed the case months ago. However, I'm very curious to hear what Michelle has to say.

Michelle's an American who has lived in Italy for seven year but she's also an attorney who writes on legal issues.

Like I said before I don't know if Amanda is innocent as I wasn't at the house that night.

Were there issues with the trial? Yes, but Michelle's post today eloquently explains why I was fend up the "OMG Italians hate America and this poor girl is being railroad" or "Italy is backwards and our justice system is the best" narrative in the American media.

Really? At least in Italy, and every other Westernized nation for that matter, no innocent person have been put to death by their government.

HERE is a link to Michelle's post. She will be writing about the trial this week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flasback Friday - Italia 2006

What the heck happened? I was watching CNN International and one sportscaster said Lippi was slammed for the players he picked. Some felt he left some very talented but inexperience Italian players at home.

Here's a pic from the last WC. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Many surprises this World Cup

What the heck happened to the French? The finalists from the last World Cup completely imploded. Things were so bad, President Sarkozy wants some answers.

The USA won their group for the first time since 1930. They play Ghana next. Ghana is the only African team to make it to the round of 16.

The match everyone is talking is England vs Germany on Sunday. After a rough start England (who along with America, has the most fans traveling to South Africa) avoided elimination.

The South American teams are kicking butt. Will Argentina go all the way?

Italy plays later today. Nobody is giving them a chance to retain their title. Poverino.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Al Settimo Gelo Gelateria in Prati goes to the top of my gelato list

I've been meaning to check out this place. Recently Katie Parla wrote about it.

One sunny afternoon I decided to treat myself after waking up at 5:00 a.m. to work. I read some article online that said Al Settimo is near the Vatican. It's not. It's in the Prati area but it's north of Piazza Mazzini. It's a good 30 to 40 minute walk from the Vatican.

This place is not close to my house at all. I don't care. I will be back.

The sour cherry sorbetto brought tears to my eyes. Seriously. I will take the slow ass 280 bus or walk an hour from my house to have it again.

This artisanal shop is known for it's interesting flavors, like Greek gelato with cardamom. The lemon sorbetto took me back to the Amalfi refreshing on a hot summer day.

It's a small local place on a side street. It was busy when I went and there wasn't a single tourist in the joint. If you are staying near that side of town, it's well worth a visit. Just brush up on some basic Italian. I don't think there's a lot of English spoken there.

Closed on Mondays.

Al Settimo Gelo
Via Vodice 21/A (corner of Via Oslavia)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Twlight: Eclipse mania arrives in Rome

I was walking home from Prati and cutting through St. Peter's Square. All of a sudden a noise that nearly shattered my eardrum.

I went to investigate. This is what I saw:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flashback Friday - Interview with Idris Elba

This World Cup has me thinking a lot about zee menz. I'm overwhelmed. I need to focus on work, not athletic attractive men.

That said, I love hearing Idris speak with his real accent.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"How do you come up with your ideas?"

This question was left in comment in a post I wrote about my screenwriting process.

Gigi, in St. Martin (where my family is from) is one of my favorite blogs. I told her I would write a separate post regarding her question.

My original ideas usually start with questions like:

What if...
If only...
I wonder...

I tend to write scripts are more character driven than plot driven. However, Hollywood wants films that are plot driven. Sigh. I'm trying to come up with "bigger" ideas.

Most of the things I've written have been comedic. Unfortunately for me I love comedies, one of the toughest genres to sell (it's very subjective) and to execute.

The saying, "write what you know" exists for a reason. You may not have lived through the exact same experiences as your characters but you might understand them emotionally.

I read the idea for The Hangover came from one of the producer's own bachelor party in Vegas. Did he steal a tiger from Mike Tyson? No, but the kernel of the idea came from him.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about working in film was from Forest Whitaker. He said, "how can you be a creative person if you're not living in the world?"

I agree. You can't be inspired if you're not paying attention to the world around you. You have to be open. A great idea can come from anywhere, anyone or anything... a song, a funny sentence your friend says, a dream, one word in a book or newspaper/magazine article, a really bad date with a guy who then tries to push up on you for a kiss, a photograph, your family, etc.

Where do your ideas come from?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Karate Kid...the first surprise Hollywood hit of the summer


Everyone is freaking out over the low box office numbers this summer.

The A-Team was expected to be number one last weekend but The Karate Kid made almost double what the studio projected.

The reviews from "civilians" (this what our industry calls people who do not work in "the biz") were outstanding.

Reading various sites, people kept saying over and over again, they liked the story, they cried, they cheered, etc. It's one of the few family movies out there and I can't remember the last "non urban" film that had a tween of color as the lead. While this is based on a 80s movie, they kept it simple. No CGI, no 3D, just tell a good story.

Box office analysts also noted many parents who came of age with the original films took their children and a lot of kids study the martial arts. All of this is true but if the movie didn't work on an emotional level it wouldn't have made so much money.

In international markets the film will be called The Kung Fu Kid.

For personal reasons I'm super psyched as the Sony executive who oversaw The Karate Kid is the same executive on our movie. He's having a very good week.

Regarding the A-Team, I pity the remake that doesn't have the original Mr. T in it. He thinks the movie is too violent and very different in tone from the series.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup 2010....I would hate to be Robert Green

The British press (and fans) are ripping him a new one for his goalie mistake in the England vs. USA game. His error is considered one of the worst in World Cup history. I have a feeling he's going to be replaced. I don't think England or USA played particular well. What the heck is up with USA uniforms? Me no like.

Germany...who knew? They spanked Australia 4-0

Ghana was the first African team to win a match and Cameroon is considered one of the strongest teams from the continent. They also have one of the best nicknames in the tournament...The Indomitable Lions.

The defending champs, Italy, are so under the radar it's hilarious. I was watching CNN International and of of the French players said people really need to stop underestimating Italy. Many say the squad is too old and with Pirlo out it's going to be ugly. We'll see, the Azzuri play tonight.

I'm glad I didn't get the SKY package for the tournament. I have to work and can't spend all afternoon and evening watching football/calcio/soccer. I have to pick which games to watch at my local bar.

And it goes without saying some of the player are fiiiiiione, oh mio Dio! That isn't the reason I watch the "beautiful game" of course, just an added bonus.

I was watching African Voices on CNN Int'l. They've been running specials on the World Cup for the last year. I got chocked up during the interviews with locals about what hosting the Cup meant to them. I'm glad to see some good news for a change. While the continent has its problems, there's more to the Motherland than war, disease and famine.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flashback Friday - Italian National Football Team 2006 - Dolce & Gabbana Ad

Yes there's a new series of ads for the 2010 team but Gattuso and Canavaro are not included. I have an issue with that.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just one day left!!

Before the World Cup starts. USA vs England is on Saturday. Should be a very good match.

Love this ad directed by Alejandro Inarritu featuring my boyfriend Cannavaro. Amores Perros is one my favorite films.

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

In the company of lunch with le Signore

One of my neighbors left me a handwritten note inviting me to lunch at her house.

I didn't know what to expect but ran down to the market the day of to get some flowers.

She has always been super nice (she knows my landlord) but before there was a huge language barrier. La Signora speaks Italian and French. Now that my Italian is stronger we can have a conversation.

There were a dozen women or so at the luncheon. The average age was mid 50s. I was the youngest person there and the oldest lady was probably in her 70s.

These women were fab. Smart, funny and fly (the accessories!). One woman said her wrinkles were getting worse and her friend replied, "don't worry nobody is wearing their glasses." There was plenty of food and wine.

The only other American at the party was African-American and has lived in Italy for over 40 years. She lives in the Center and was telling me what it was like living in Rome back then. She has known my neighbor for 17 years. All the women at the luncheon work out at the same gym.

Since that luncheon we bump into each other all the time. Hilarious.

I found out that my building is over 400 years old. Crazy.

When I lived in NYC, I knew my neighbors and our doormen. There was a sense of community.

I really missed that sense of community when I moved to L.A. You can find pockets of it depending on the area. I never did.

In my building, people barely spoke to each other. I lived next door to this one guy for years, never knew his name, or anything about him other than he had an annoying little dog and boyfriends with anger management issues. He didn't seem to work (he was home all the time) yet drove a Mercedes. I thought he could be a struggling actor but then he would actually have to leave the house for auditions or something.

Here, it's more like NYC or DC (where I lived after college). It cracks me up when I see one of the cashiers from the supermarket on the street and they yell, "Buon giorno!"

Some of the women at the luncheon were married and had grandchildren. The conversation was lively and covered a lot of topics. I tried to keep up. It was like hanging out with the Italian version of the Golden Girls.

The lack of plastic surgery really stood out to me. I don't know any women in L.A. in that age range who haven't had work done. Hello, women younger than me are getting brow lifts.

I thought about how older women are devalued or mocked in American society. It's ridiculous. I had to stop reading certain film websites/blogs because of all the hatred toward the "old" women of SATC 2. Criticize the movie but to say these women shouldn't even be on screen with their "leathery skin"? Are you kidding me? What's that about?

Love this scene from "Something's Gotta Give". So dead on.

Monday, June 07, 2010

A book signing in Rome for David Lebovitz's "Ready For Dessert"

David Lebovitz is a very talented pastry chef. His blog is a must read. It's hilarious and filled with fantastic recipes and photos.

David's an American and has been living in Paris for several years. I love reading about his life in Paris. I agree with a comment left on one of his posts...there should be a Euro Cup for bureaucracy. France and Italy would be in the finals. heh.

Context Travel, along with Elizabeth and Domenico Minchilli, hosted a book signing in Rome for David's latest book. David writes about the event HERE. He includes links and mentions two gelato places I must try right away. There some great pictures as well.

I'm glad I bought my book when I first arrived as they sold out. The Almost Corner Bookshop in Trastevere will be ordering more.

It was a fun event. I got to reconnect with friends I haven't seen in a while and meet some new people.

Last year I said I would not buy another cookbook. I had to get this one. I've spent the last two days pouring over the book.

I will try a bunch of recipes and inflict them on my friends. I say inflict because my baking attempts here have not been very successful. However, this one has metric and American measurements so things might work out better.

David told me The Cook's Library bookstore closed last year. I'm in shock. It was one of my favorite stores in L.A. Most of my cookbooks were bought at that store and I brought all of them to Rome. Tim, the manager, was beyond helpful.

While I do get some books online, nothing beats going into a bookstore. Sure, Amazon can send you suggestions but I like browsing and talking to people who know books. It's sad that over 50% of the independent books stores in America have gone out of business and more will be shutting down.

Yes we have to pay a little more if we go to the "shop around the corner" but I think we'll lose more as a society if our only options are big box stores like Walmart.

Look at that cover. To quote Rachel Zoe, "I die!"

Nice spread. I had a sparkling rosè that was fantastic. I know what I will be drinking this summer.

David getting ready to sign some books.

This courtyard is so pretty. I walk past it all the time. Usually the gate is closed. I would love to rent one of the offices.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Flashback Friday - Aretha Franklin - I Say A Little Prayer

Aretha's singing. Burt Bacharach wrote the song. 'Nuff said.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Some photos from the Festa della Repubblica parade

Yesterday was "Festa della Repubblica" a national holiday celebrating when Italian citizens voted to become a republic after the end of World War II.

I haven't been to a parade in ages. They're not a big deal in L.A. compared to NYC. When I lived in New York there seemed to be a parade every other weekend, St. Patrick's Day, Puerto Rican Day, Dominican Day, Halloween, The Macy's Thanksgiving Day, Gay Pride Day, West Indian Day, Easter Hat, etc.

It was gorgeous out, so I decided to walk over to Piazza Venezia. The parade route was packed. I bumped into two American expats who live near me and watched the parade with them.

It was fun. I cracked up when people cheered for the AMA (sanitation) trucks. They weren't part of the parade but were there to clean up after the horses.

I wasn't able to get good photos of the various troops. I was too far back. I felt sorry for the scuba unit. It was too hot to wear such outfits. The nuns (I think they were nurses) were looking sharp.

The highlight was the military jets flying over Piazza Venezia at the end. As much as we all dislike that huge building, the planes flying over it was a nice visual.

The planes, the planes

This boat reminded me of the show "Miami Vice" for some reason.

I guess the dog was too tired to walk.

Gorgeous horse.

The planes over Piazza Venezia

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

(Italian) School's Out For Summer.

Anyone remember that song?

Last night was the final class of the semester. My professor said my Italian has definitely improved since the class began. (Uhmm too bad I had to ask the British guy next to me to translate her comment. heh)

Two other students brought gelato and pastries. I think all the sugar made us a little crazy. Our poor professor's lesson plan went out the window. Instead of reviewing grammar, for two hours we argued about Italian politics, American politics, bad urban planning, food, why is Italian grammar so freaking difficult, the best places to live, the difference between Tuscan, Roman and Sicilian accents, etc.

One of the other British students and I got into it because he said he preferred to watch American films dubbed in Italian. He said he couldn't stand American accents. Everyone in class started laughing. I told him not to get it twisted...not every British accent sounds like Laurence Oliver's.

Then he preceded to talk smack about Naples. One of our TAs (teaching assistant) said she was from Naples. Boh. Another student said to him, "What's wrong with you today?" ha.

It was fun to argue in Italian. My verb tenses weren't too bad but my vocabulary was a sad situation. I ended up speaking some ungodly combination of Italian and English.

My professor asked if I plan to continue on to Level 3 this fall. Level 2, which was supposed to be intermediate Italian, kicked my butt. I'm not sure if I can handle Advanced Italian but I have to try. I refuse to be that expat who can't speak the language.

Over the summer I'm going to do my best not to forget everything I've learned. One of the TAs and I plan to meet. I will help her with her English (she speaks Spanish fluently but has trouble with English) and she will help me with my Italian.

I'm finally at the point where I can read Italian magazines without looking up every other word. It used to take me forever to get though Vanity Fair or Italian Vogue which was very frustrating. I bought a book of poetry "Ballate Non Pagate" by Alda Merini which is challenging but rewarding.

I also have several childrens' books and a few novels to read. The May issue of Italian Conde Nast Traveller has several fantastic articles on the Italian coasts. I'm ready to go to the beach.