Sunday , April 18 2021

Director Ferrante: How to work with a ghost

I DO NOT KNOW WHAT FERRANTE IS: Director Saviero Costanzo with Lila (t.v) and Elena during the recording of the HBO series
I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS: Director Saviero Costanzo with Lila (t.v) and Elena during the recording of the HBO series "My Brilliant Friend". He tells VG that he does not know who Ferrante is, even though the two have written hundreds of emails to each other. Photo: HBO Nordic


CASERTA (VG) Director Saviero Costanzo (43) worked closely with the mysterious Elena Ferrante on the HBO series "My Brilliant Friend" – based on her huge book success – but he has never met her and describes her as a nightmare .


"It was like working with a ghost," Costanzo told VG when we found him on the set in Caserta on the outskirts of Naples this summer.

Read the VG review of the TV series here: Says 6!

The expensive TV series is premiered on HBO Monday and is based on it first book in the Naples Quartet written by the Italian author that no one knows who it is who does not want anyone to know who she is – and who writes the pseudonym Elena Ferrante.

background: Mystery Ferrante

The Italian director, who has directed several long films, describes working with an anonymous person as a nightmare.

It's terrible. I dreamed a lot about the night about faceless people. Ferrante is a demanding person to work with and she can make me feel weak. But at the same time, we have a clear and clear relationship. She does not say much, but she has very clear ideas and provided good advice along the way, "said Costanzo.

Got you? In this way, the Norwegian Elisa (11) got the role of Elena in the HBO series "My Brilliant Friend".

Whatsappet each other

He started working with Ferrante two years ago, but he feels almost like life ever since. They communicated via e-mail via the Ferrantes editors, and eventually they also touch-also through the publisher.

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Comment: Long live speculations. Viva Ferrante.

– I had to have quick access and I sent a message in Whatsapp to the editor who saw whatsappet Ferrante as the black editor – who answered me. Everything went through the editor. We probably write hundreds of emails to each other in this way, says Constanzo, admitting that he wondered a lot, as was also speculated in the media. For example, around the Ferrante genre.

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"At first, I thought she was, after all, I started thinking about him and we saw – that there's a couple who writes together. But believe me, we do not know anything about her." And frankly: I do not care. books that she writes. For this reality is very real.

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Ferrante smokes?

But one thing he asked himself too:

"I never asked about anything personal, until one day I just had to ask if she was smoking. I have to answer that she was smoking before, laughing at the director.

The box series about the friends Elena and Lilila created fever Ferrante in much of the world of books and has also been a big hit here in Norway. All three of the four books received cube box 6 The VG and the series have a total of 400,000 copies.

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VG participated in what, according to HBO, was "the first and last" recording tour outside Naples – where they set up a set of more than 65,000 square feet in a closed factory area. We are shown around in Elena and Lilas Rione – their poor neighborhood in Naples – where everything is painted in a carefully planned cave inspired by Picasso's Guernica.

Everything is yellowish gray, after all, the plan is that it will be brighter and with more colors. Because four seasons are programmed for the TV series, one for each book.

"So far we know the biggest movie in Europe now. Here we build what many think is the Rione Luzzatti in Naples, the only neighborhood that has the railway station, the view of Vesuvius – and the famous tunnel where Lila and Elena leave for the first instead, says the designer on set, Giancarlo Basili, for VG.

They also built the tunnel as well as 14 exteriors for apartment buildings. Inside the building of a factory, which is about 100 meters long, they also built six internal apartments.

Valentino designed the wedding dress

We have a lot about it, but we do allow SE, but we do not touch or take pictures of Lila's wedding dress. Designed by Valentino's chief designer, Pierpaolo Piccioli, you should know. And the famous spade that plays an important role at the end of the first book is also Valentino. There is much prestige in this co-production between HBO, Rai Fiction and TIMvision – not least in the fact that the series is in Italian.

In the end, we ended up at Bar Solara, where Aperol Spritz is served – and we found the director Saviero Costanzo and two couples actors: The teenage edition of Lila and Elena and the young Lila and Elena, the last performed by Norwegian Elisa del Genio who has a Norwegian mother and an Italian father.

Read the story of how Norway Elisa got the lead role

"These characters became icons so we had a lot of pressure to find the right ones to play them.We light up 8000 girls and just had to follow instinct and believe in their own liking along the way.I fell in love with these four moments , says Costanzo.

And that was something that Elena Ferrante herself was fully aware of being in the series:

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"She was very busy with the wedding at the end.We suggested that everything could end up in the church instead of the restaurant as in the book, but Ferrante would have returned the original feast in the restaurant.And then she was busy at first that we had to get into a voice that would awaken a little of the mind, because without it we could not understand that everything is related to revenge. It is not revenge of hate, but of love, says the director Costanzo, who has a history of Ferrante.

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Is Ferrante my mother?

Already in 2007, he wrote to Ferrante to hear about the cinematographic rights of the book, which was nominated in Norwegian «The Black Daughter» – and I have.

"Even if she said at the time that she would never make more movies, she said," Okay, but only with you. "So maybe Ferrante is really my mother, Costanzo laughs.

He worked on the project for six months, but eventually had to write to Ferrante and say he could not. So it was many years. And two years ago Ferrante pointed him to take the Naples Quartet to the screen.

My first thought was: Oh dear. It's an adventure. I had just read the fourth book and was very involved. But I really promised myself not to accept further book adaptations, because it is very painful for me to struggle with readers. But this is more than just a bestseller. It's part of my story, it looked like a cold, says the director.

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Did you finish the Naples Quartet? Check it out: How can she write, Elena Ferrante!

After all these months, Ferrante is still a mystery to Saviero Costanzo:

"I do not even know what the mystery is here, but it is and will be a mystery. I think there's something about what everyone has in it. Ferrante puts words about the feelings that we all have inside us.

Psst! "My brilliant friend" consists of eight episodes, and in the first episode you can watch HBO Nordic on Monday, November 19th. The first two episodes of "My Brilliant Friend" were shown during the Venice Festival by applause – and boasted among others. Hollywood Reporter and variety.

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