on 1 Jan, 1970
from Empire (UK) / by Ian Freer, Phil de Semlyen
London, Paris, Geneva, Madrid, Adelaide, Los Angeles, Nashville… Empire has scoured the globe to talk to the seven women of Nien – the cast of 2009…
At the end of the day, when we had the whole cast together, there was that moment where I thought, “Oh my Lord! Look at this cast! How lucky did I get?!” says Nine director Rob Marshall, currently in post-production on his first musical since the Oscar-laden Chicago. “It was an amazing experience – working with the crème de la crème.”
Riffing on the Tony-winning Broadway show based on Fellini’s 8 1/2, Nine may centre on the artistic neurosis of celebrated film director Guido Conini (Daniel Day-Lewis, in his first hoofer), but perhaps the real hook is the bevy of women who populate Guido’s reality, memory and fantasies.
Marshall had seven key female roles to cast, and what he has come up with is hands-down the ensemble of the year, a heady mix of pure acting chops, stunning looks, iconic talent and irrepressible chutzpah. He also demanded something else: no divas.
“For me, they have to be lovely people,” he says. “As I get older and as I move into more films, the process is everything and I wanted to make sure that I love these people and loved working with them. To me, that’s very important.”
Marion Cotillard – the Wife
Tell us about Luisa Contini
I love Luisa because she’s an authentic lover. She’s more than his wife: she’s his confidante, his best friend. She’s really a person committed to this relationship. She loves him. She lives for him. She stands by her man. What she gave up for him is not painful – what’s painful is how the relationship turned out to be, because she realises that the confidence they used to share is collapsing, and what she lives for is going away.
Your big number is My Husband Makes Movies.
I love this song, Lisa is a very internal character – am I right to say that? – but sh really keeps things inside because she doesn’t really know how to deal with the fact that she’s been left aside, so she tries to protect him. At first she tries not to show how much she’s suffering, but when you’ve suffered for a long time, it’s hard to keep it inside. So she’s struggling with trying to stand by her man, but standing alone at the same time.
You also sing a song created especially for this movie.
Yes. It’s called Take It All. What she says is very close to Be On Your Own. That she was there for him, but if he doesnt’t look at her then she can’t live in a relationship where it’s only one-way. She needs love, to love. To be able to give love, you need love.
What were your favourite musicals growing up?
It was definitely Singin’ In The Rain and Annie. I knew all the songs and all the choreography! I’d spend hours in front of the TV with a video-tape of Singin’ In The Rain trying to do the choreographies in my living room. It was kind of funny.
People keep pronouncing the deathof the musical, but every year there’s another monster musical at hte box office. Why are they still so popular?
Musicals are very demanding in terms of working, so I think it’s a good thing that they’re kind of rare, but I don’t think it’s dying… America is the musical country. Maybe there were more musicals before, but people need more reality in movies so maybe that’s why they may have looked like they were dying. But when you have too much reality, you also need dreams, so maybe that’s why they’re coming back.