May 20, 2024

Italian star Luisa Ranieri, who played the emotionally troubled Aunt Patrizia in Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God,” has joined the cast of the Johnny Depp-directed film “Modì,” about Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani. The film has started shooting in Budapest.

Ranieri is starring in “Modì” alongside fellow Italian Riccardo Scamarcio, who plays the bad boy painter and sculptor who worked mainly in France and became famous for the groundbreaking modern style of his portraits and nudes. Al Pacino plays international art collector Maurice Gangnat, while French actor Pierre Niney (“Yves Saint Laurent”) portrays French artist Maurice Utrillo, who was Modigliani’s close friend.

Ranieri is playing Rosalie, the owner of an Italian café in Paris whom Modigliani painted. According to lore about the dissolute Italian artist who died at 35, Rosalie also acted as his mother, looking after Modigliani when he was drunk or so out of money that he couldn’t afford a hot meal.

“Modì,” which is Depp’s second feature film, marks his return to the director’s chair 25 years after “The Brave,” in which the actor also starred alongside Marlon Brando. Depp most recently starred as Louis XV in Maïwenn’s “Jeanne Du Barry,” marking his first acting role since his 2022 defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, which caused a media frenzy.

The long-gestating picture is based on Dennis McIntyre’s play of the same name and adapted for the screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski. “Modì” takes place in 1916 Paris over the course of 48 turbulent hours “that will become a turning point in his life, ultimately solidifying his reputation as an artistic legend” according to the film’s provided synopsis.

Pacino is producing “Modì” along with his longtime manager and producer Barry Navidi. IN.2, the European arm of production company Infinitum Nihil, is backing the film. Italy’s ILBE Group, led by Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi, have also come on board as producers.

The film marks producer Navidi’s fourth collaboration with Pacino, who he worked with on “The Merchant of Venice” (2004), “Wilde Salomé” (2011) and “Salomé” (2013).

The “Modì” shoot is expected to move to Italy after several weeks in Budapest, which is standing in for Paris.

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