Carlo Dusi, internationally respected producer of Little Ashes (Rob Pattinson) and The Absinthe Drinkers (Peter Facinelli) sat down with the Examiner to talk about how Rob got the part as Salvador Dali and why Peter accepted a smaller part as Lucciola in "The Absinthe Drinkers."
Robert had been on my radar for some time, as I had actually got him to read for a role in a pilot for a feature film that I made in 2006, and while he was too young for that particular role I had already been extremely impressed by his screen presence and his acting ability. When our dates for the shoot of Little Ashes were confirmed and we went back into the market to find our Salvador Dali’ in Britain, he was immediately one of our shortlist, and his reading for the role left us all in no doubt that he was the right person for the role. Of course no-one could have imagined at the time how his career would have soared so soon after our shoot, but we could all tell that there was a very special quality to him, as well as huge talent and integrity as an actor. Finally, as regards the role of Bunuel we had had another actor interested in principle in the role for some time prior to the shoot, but by the time we could confirmed dates he was no longer available, and we were left casting this key role with only a couple of weeks before the start of the shoot. We picked who we wanted to see for the role very carefully, and Matthew was always our favourite as his work to date was extremely strong. Our director was already in Spain and I was away from London when we got him to read, so we all had to make our decision based on a DVD of his audition, but even so Matthew’s incredible talent shone through, and we immediately brought him on board and flew him out to Barcelona to rehearse.
Peter Facinelli, who took the part of Lucciola, a supporting role which director John Charles Jopson told me that he rewrote as a result of Facinelli’s love for the character, is, says Dusi, “a very versatile actor.” “I cannot claim any credit in his selection for The Absinthe Drinkers, as it is our wonderful casting director Carol Lefko who brought him into a reading first, and then got him to meet with John, who immediately took him. We were all delighted when Peter confirmed his interest in the project.”
About Peter Facinelli’s decision to accept the smaller role of Lucciola despite Mr. Jopson’s offering of the lead, Dusi says “I was a little surprised at first, as of course we all tend to expect the lead roles to prove more attractive to actors generally. That being said, once Peter explained his very well thought-out reasons to John, and given also the very special quirkiness and originality of the character of Lucciola, we all understood why he felt so attached to it and did not want to let it go, and have all come to respect his decision fully, as yet another sign of his integrity and intelligence when making his choices.” “[H]is commitment to the role of Lucciola followed on shortly from my decision to become involved, and having the opportunity to work on the film is now another major plus for me, so I very much look forward to our collaboration in this respect.”
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