Fans bring soap stars to heel

Is a big hit in Italy, write and

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV -

ITH sun­glasses and spike heels, make-up artists and wardrobe ex­perts, the US soap opera The Bold and The Beau­ti­ful has landed in Italy.

The cast and pro­duc­tion team have been in Puglia – the heel of Italy’s fa­mous boot – this month to film sto­ry­lines in a bid to both boost their show at home and nur­ture their Ital­ian fans.

The Bold and The Beau­ti­ful is watched by 35 mil­lion peo­ple in more than 100 coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to its press of­fice. Italy is its No.1 mar­ket world­wide.

Known in Italy sim­ply as Beau­ti­ful, the show has four mil­lion view­ers in the coun­try com­pared with 3.6 mil­lion in the US. It is also a pop­u­lar stal­wart on Aus­tralian screens for Net­work Ten.

The pro­gram’s male lead, Ronn Moss, who plays Ridge, is widely recog­nised from Italy’s ver­sion of Danc­ing with the Stars.

Ac­cord­ing to Brad Bell, the show’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, the fic­tional rea­son why the soap finds it­self in Italy is be­cause Ridge’s wife, Brooke (Kather­ine Kelly Lang), was look­ing for a place that her daugh­ter Hope (Kim Mat­ula) could es­cape to be­cause she was be­ing hounded by the press in Bev­erly Hills. The real rea­son for the trip is the fans. ‘‘Italy has been good to us, we want to give ex­po­sure to Italy and do busi­ness with a coun­try so close so our hearts,’’ Bell says.

The pace is manic: The Bold and The Beau­ti­ful shoots 250 episodes a year and is try­ing to do 10 episodes in five days dur­ing its time in Italy.

The soap’s most im­por­tant scene is the wed­ding be­tween Hope and Liam (Scott Clifton). It is be­ing shot in the stun­ning sea­side vil­lage of Polig­nano a Mare, which is perched on rocky cliffs that plunge down to the crys­tal-clear Adri­atic Sea.

Hun­dreds of lo­cals gath­ered last week to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars and get an au­to­graph or a photo. Kim Mat­ula (left), who plays Hope, sits on a small truck dur­ing shoot­ing of TV soap opera in Masse­ria San Domenico. The ac­tors were happy to oblige. ‘‘Italy is al­ways very re­cep­tive to us. They are al­ways very wel­com­ing, very pas­sion­ate about the show, so it makes it much more fun,’’ Moss says.

Lang, wear­ing an emer­ald-green dress for the wed­ding scene, posed with ea­ger fans.

For the wed­ding scene, Mat­ula wore an el­e­gant ivory dress de­signed by Vera Wang with tiny buttons run­ning down the back and sported a Grace Kelly-like hairdo.

Lo­cals also ap­pre­ci­ate that The Bold and The Beau­ti­ful is giv­ing a mini-boost to a re­gion of Italy that is strug­gling eco­nom­i­cally. The show brought in 16 crew mem­bers from the US, plus six ac­tors, two publi­cists and the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer. It hired a 42-per­son film crew from an Ital­ian com­pany and used lo­cal driv­ers and ho­tels.

It’s not the first time The Bold and The Beau­ti­ful has filmed on lo­ca­tion in Italy. The show went to Lake Como in 1997, to Venice in 1999 and to Portofino in 2002.

The soap opera cel­e­brated its 25th an­niver­sary in March.

Week­days, 4.30pm, Ten, Ten SC

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