Fellini co-wrote the tale of two Neapolitan kids who embark on a ship to New York to escape Italy’s early postwar poverty with his frequent collaborator Tullio Pinelli, a writer on the Italian maestro’s “La Dolce Vita” and “8 1/2,” as well as other titles.
Italian A-lister Pierfrancesco Favino (“The Traitor,” “Nostalgia”) stars as the chief officer of the ship which the two kids, named Carmine and Celestina, manage to board surreptitiously in the port of Naples, becoming clandestine passengers. The youngsters are on a mission to reach the U.S. where they dream of living with Celestina’s sister, who emigrated to New York two years earlier. Newcomers Dea Lanzaro e Antonio Guerra play the kids. (See first-look image above of Favino with the kids and Salvatores.)
The rest of the “Napoli – New York” cast comprises Neapolitan actors Anna Ammirati (“The Sea Outside”) and Anna Lucia Pierro, alongside Omar Benson Miller, Tomas Arana and Antonio Catania in smaller roles.
Salvatores is considered a specialist of sorts when it comes to films set amid the universe of children, having helmed “Io non ho paura” (“I Am Not Scared”) in 2003 based on a novel about a kid who is kidnapped for ransom, and non-conventional superhero films “Invisible Boy” in 2018 and its sequel “Invisible Boy – Second Generation.” The prolific director’s most recent works are “All My Crazy Love,” which launched from Venice in 2019 and “Casanova’s Return.”
The “Napoli – New York” treatment was written by Fellini and Pinelli in the mid-1940s when Fellini was a struggling writer-director in Rome, before he directed his first film “The White Sheik” in 1952. The treatment’s manuscript surfaced in Pinelli’s archives in 2006 and was subsequently published in Italy. Adaptation rights were then purchased by producers Isabella Cocuzza and Arturo Paglia whose Paco Cinematografica is producing the film with backing from RAI Cinema and support from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission.
The plan is for “Napoli – New York” to shoot for 12 weeks in locations in Naples, Trieste, the Croatian city of Rijeka, and in Rome’s revamped Cinecittà Studios.
The film’s below-the-line team comprises cinematographer Diego Indraccolo; editor Julien Panzarosa (“Casanova’s Return”); set designer Rita Rabassini (“Invisible Boy”); costumer designer Patrizia Chericoni (“I’m Not Scared”); composer Federico De Robertiis (“Nirvana,” “The Invisible Boy”) and visual effects supervisor Victor Perez (“The Invisible Boy – Second Generation”).
RAI Cinema’s 01 Distribution will release “Napoli – New York” in Italy.
Pictured below (L-R): Arturo Paglia, Gabriele Salvatores, Isabella Cocuzza.