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LA STAMPA

'I Wanted To Go Back Home' - Sophia Loren Remembers It All

Interview: The legendary Italian actress shares memories of when it all began, and describes a life that remains rich with honors and new artistic challenges.

The Italian icon in 2009 (Immortal-truth)
The Italian icon in 2009 (Immortal-truth)
Simonetta Robiony

TAORMINA - Like the Greek temples of this Sicilian city, Sophia Loren is an Italian icon who grows better with time. The legendary actress received a special career honor here last week at the 58th edition of the Taormina Film Festival, in the coastal city's ancient Greek Theater. "I'm a very fragile woman, I get emotional easily," said the 77-year-old diva, the only Italian actress ever to win an Academy Award.

LA STAMPA: What do you remember about the first time you attended the Taormina Film Festival?
SOPHIA LOREN: "The amazement for being in the Greek Theatre. It was 30 years ago, but I still remember how my heart was beating when I entered the arena. I was so struck by the magnificence of the place that I was walking without looking where I put my feet. Someone rushed to stop me because I was about to fall off the stage."

You've lived through extraordinary times. What would you like to teach the younger generations?
Hope. In my life, everything happened as a surprise. I was 16, in high school, specializing in education. I wasn't thinking about movies, but then my mother forced me to follow her to Rome. At home we didn't have money, and in the film studio Cinecittà they were shooting Quo Vadis?. We were extras for 30,000 lire a day for both my mother and me. It was a huge amount of money. We had never seen so much money. But I wanted to go back home to Pozzuoli near Naples, to my sister, my grandparents, my house. My mother stopped me from going back -- and for me it was a very tough moment. My mother demanded too much from me. I often thought I would never be able to make it.

And now, you are here to be honored once again for your career. How do you do it?
One step at the time. I'm a judicious and methodical person. Every time that I meet someone I create a mental portrait of the person in front of me. I always looked for the right encounters. And I still receive awards, even if I don't deserve them.

Italy is going through a very tough moment, but your generation went through the War. Why does it see even worse now?
Maybe we should take a step back. Or we won't be able to help young people find their path, which is not always easy -- sometimes you get lost. It once happened to me too. I understand young people.

You recently played your own mother in a two-part Italian television miniseries about her early life, based on the memoir written by your sister Maria. How was this experience?
It was very difficult. I rediscovered all those things she had driven into us.

Are you always nervous when you are shooting a movie?
No. Only the first days. I have to know the director well, my co-stars, the team... I used to be a bit scared. Then it went away."

Your two children an orchestral conductor and a director have undertaken artistic careers. Did you have an influence on them?
No. Edoardo decided that he wanted to be a director by himself. Carlo was pushed by his father the Italian film producer Carlo Ponti to study music and he ended up loving it.

Some of your four grandchildren look like you?
All of them do, the two boys and the two girls. But they have very light blue, Nordic eyes.

Today plastic surgery is a trend. Is it worth it?
If only this beauty would last by itself! I see around some awful women who have become unrecognizable. It's a big mistake. You should never become someone different than who you are. You can find a good surgeon, make some small tweaks, that's all.

What are your next plans?
At my age, I want to choose carefully. Scripts keep arriving, but often they are not interesting or right for me. I could keep playing the characters I have always played, but of a different age. Of course if Italian director Carlo Verdone called, I would accept immediately, because there are directors to whom you just don't say no. I would like, though, playing in The Human Voice by Jean Cocteau, directed by my son. Anna Magnani did it. It is a beautiful play."

Read the original article in Italian

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Photo of women walking in Ecuador

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