Me, Gaetano, Guido, Caroline with little Renzo and Salvatore


In the last couple of days I heard from my friend John Jopson, director of the film "Terroir" which has been filmed in this beautiful area of Tuscany where we live. John is at Ealing Studios, in London, putting the finishing touches to his fascinating film.
Hearing from him reminded me of the wonderful moments Guido and I have spent in the company of the film crew over the last couple of years. I had never been anywhere near a set before but when John asked if I could help out as script prompt I leapt at the chance. Seeing the magic that John works with his camera, transforming the settings into so much more than I was aware of while watching the actors and crew at work, was amazing.
The crew were so nice and such fun including the amazing Mirko Rocchi who managed to create special effects from pieces of painted polystyrene that were totally convincing ancient brick walls and creepy cellars on screne and the various camera men and sound technicians who patiently reworked each scene until it was perfect. I was very lucky to work with the two main actors, going over their scripts with them.
Keith Caradine was so professional and yet such a an approachable and lovely man. His wife, the adorable Hayley, became a real friend and I treasure the memory of the two of them hunted by the press at the last day of filming when we had a big Thanksgiving dinner and being found in the kitchen peeling extra potatoes for everyone. The Italian actor Gaetano Guarino was amazingly brave. He had to say most of his lines in English and in spite of his doubts he did a fantastic job.
The chemistry between us all was fantastic when filming at Villa Petrolo and again when we filmed at the Ferragamo Estate later on in the year. Salvatore Ferragamo was kind enough to show us around the Estate and in particular the wonderful art gallery there when he was not being filmed. His dog never left his side and so is part of the finished film - although cetrain sound effects will have been cut no doubt!
My friend Caroline Zimmermann, John's wife and producer of the film did about a hundred jobs at the same time while we were filming and is also the main actress. How she managed it all is a mystery but then she is indeed a "godess". If you check out her website there are several blogs and some lovely photos about "Terroir". (www.carolinezimmermann.com)
Guido was also involved in many different roles. He helped with the lighting and sound and also managed to become the main chef, feeding a crew of 15 or so. He, Caroline and Hayley were heros at the Thanksgiving dinner when they managed to strech the food to cater for 25 instead of the original 15 we had expected!
The film is a wonderful reworking of an Edgar Allen Poe story and so suitably macabre but it also dwells on the cycles of life, the force of nature and the effect of terroir on the land and its people and I really cannot wait to see the finished version.