Star-powered caravan of courage
his wife Micaela Ramazzotti alongside Valeria Bruni Tedeschi as two women who make a break for mad freedom from a psychiatric hospital.
Virzi, 54, is, as he puts it, ‘‘a son of the Italian cinema and proud of that’’, but he also feels he owes a personal debt to Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese, even to the much younger Alexander Payne.
Reverence for American cinema has its own pitfalls, of course. ‘‘It was a risk to get stuck in cliche, like it happens to many very good American directors when they come in Italy and shoot against the backdrop of Italy’s picturesque places,’’ he says.
In Michael Zadoorian’s source novel, John and Ella drive Route 66. Virzi baulked at filming in iconic Monument Valley, so relocated the drive to ‘‘the languid and sweet landscape’’ of the East Coast. He hopes he avoided caricaturing the country. ‘‘I am Paolo Virz The Leisure Seeker
Donald Sutherland describes his co-star Helen Mirren as a genius.