July 4, 2015 – By Ulkar Alakbarova
Simon Axler (Al Pacino) is an aged stage actor, whose life is turned upside down when he meets Pegeen (Greta Gerwig), an attractive lady who is much younger than himself. The significant age difference and the fact that Pegeen is a lesbian does not stop the two from having an affair, which will turn a new page in both their lives. But how far can this relationship take Simon if he can`t even control his own life?
The Humbling is directed by Barry Levinson (Toys, Sleepers) and co-produced by Andrea Iervolino (The Merchant of Venice, Gorbaciof, Napoletans), an Italian movie producer and businessman, and the founder of AMBI Pictures. Despite the time difference, Andrea Iervolino finds a few minutes to talk to me about The Humbling, his first meeting with Al Pacino, and AMBI inaugural benefit gala which will take place at Toronto`s Four Seasons Hotel on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.
MOVIEMOVESME: You have produced two movies, and The Humbling with Al Pacino. Can you talk about the camaraderie you share with Al Pacino?
Andrea Iervolino: When I was younger, in a small town in Italy, I made my first movie when I was 16. It was a social movie. When I turned 18, I made a movie with a big Italian producer. He opened Medusa, a big Italian film producing company. When I started to make big movies with him as a co-producer, he was working with Al Pacino. I was the associate executive producer for the movie. This is how I met Al Pacino, my first experience with him. Two years ago I met Al Pacino again in Los Angeles with a friend and they told me he was going to make a new movie. We Italians have utmost respect for Al Pacino, he’s like the God of actors for us. For me to do two movies with him was a pleasure. I’m proud and honored to be his producer.
MOVIEMOVESME: The Humbling has an interesting concept, with an age old actor, almost forgotten and at the same time having an affair with someone much younger than him. As a co-producer, which part of the story attracts you most?
Andrea Iervolino: The concept of the film was to speak about the real life of actors. This movie speaks about the reality of stars who get old. We see in the movie the star gets old, has an affair with a young lady because he was a sex symbol. But after he gets old he finds it difficult to get work while he is still going out with the young lady. Normal people watch the movie and think actors have a good life, but they don’t realise that actors have a very normal life with ups and downs. Sometimes movies are a success and sometimes they are not, when it’s not it becomes difficult to get work. We liked this concept and made a movie in Italy with the same concept around six months ago. Al Pacino and I made a movie before The Humbling, whose concept is very similar. We both like this type of movie very much because we can show normal people that in reality, the life of actors and common people is not so different.
MOVIEMOVESME: There are a few films you’ve acted in but over 45 films you’ve produced. Does it mean that producing films for you is more important than acting?
Andrea Iervolino: I made two movies in Italy which I both acted in and produced. But afterwards I realized I didn’t enjoy being an actor that much and I started to produce movies only. I think when an actor can be a producer for his movie, it can be good in an artistic way because they can then express what they want. But from the business point of view there needs to be a different producer. It’s because at times if you’re the actor, producer and the director, you are unable to see the reality of the movie. Movies are like babies, you love it more than yourself, so at times you cannot see the mistakes you’re making.
MOVIEMOVESME: What has been the biggest challenge or perhaps a difficult situation you’ve faced while making your movies?
Andrea Iervolino: Every movie is a challenge. As a producer there are many difficult situations you need to handle in every movie. Sometimes the actors you wanted are not available, sometimes the director is not available to shoot at the location you desire. Making movies is difficult but in the end everything falls into place. For example, we shot a movie in Italy with Sarah Jessica Parker a year ago. This movie was in pre-production for one year, and only two months before Sarah Jessica Parker said yes to play the lead role. So the idea is to find ways to make difficult situations better.
MOVIEMOVESME: You have launched AMBI Pictures with prolific Italian producer Monica Bacardi. Can you talk about the collaboration with her?
Andrea Iervolino: I first met Lady Monica Bacardi in my earlier days when I was co-producing films with the big Italian producer. We had made many many movies together. Two years ago she asked if we can open an official film producing company together. So we opened AMBI with the rule that we will make only English movies. So we made several movies with stars like Al Pacino, James Franco, Selena Gomez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek. Now we are making a very big animation movie like Ice Age, Madagascar. We have a distribution companies in Los Angeles, Canada, UK. I think she’s a very good businesswoman and I have big respect for her. I think she’s a good, honest business partner.
MOVIEMOVESME: An exciting news came out about AMBI inaugural benefit gala. Could you talk about that?
Andrea Iervolino: On September 9th, we will do an AMBI gala. It is a charity event where we use cinema to help the cause. In this first gala we collect money for Prince Albert II foundation. The Prince of Monaco will come to Canada for this charity and we’ll collect money for investing in Canadian charity to help combat environmental problems. Every year we’ll support a new cause. We’ll reach out to everyone in the cinema world, all connections all actors for help. We really believe if we could do something to make the world a better place then why not? James Franco, Heidi Klum, Micheal Madsen, Mischa Barton and many others are part of the Charity ball. It is a very private event, only 300 people will come.