Fans bring soap stars to heel
Is a big hit in Italy, write and
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