Roberto Benigni and Woody Allen to pair-up in Rome? Where ya been, Roberto?

The last time I saw Roberto Benigni, he said he wanted to make love to me. To be fair, he wanted to make love to everybody watching the 1999 Academy Awards after he’d won his second Oscar of the night for Life is Beautiful. But since that night, when the Italian Chaplin was officially crowned by Hollywood, his profile has retreated. His directorial follow-up, 2002’s Pinocchio, was an expensive flop that bombed completely on this side of the Atlantic. He appeared briefly in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes in 2003, and he hasn’t starred in any film since 2005’s Iraq War film, The Tiger and The Snow. For the most part, the only thing Americans recall about him now is his Oscar-winning antics, when he made his offer of amore and celebrated his victory by dancing on the seats and shoulders of the people seated in front of him.

Some people were put off by Benigni’s excessive display of enthusiasm, and some others later called into question both his spontaneity and his charmingly broken English. But 12 years later, Benigni finally might be getting a second chance with American audiences, now that Woody Allen is reportedly keen on directing him in his new Rome-based project, Bop Decameron. The two auteurs seem to be kindred spirits, and though neither will ever be the star they once were, it will be fascinating to see what type of character Allen writes for Benigni. Will he play against type or let Benigni be Benigni?

Check out Benigni’s crowning moment below:

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Comments (6 total) Add your comment
  • Dee Jones

    I wondered what happened to him. This would make a good pairing, both are eccentric in their own way.

    • Megan Butterworth

      Just FYI, Benigni didn’t go anywhere. He is still the most famous human being in Italy. The last 6 years he’s spent taking Dante poetry all over the world. More than 60% of the Italian population have seen his show. I am from Australia and I went to Italy in February to see Nicoletta Braschi (his wife and co-star of his films including La vita e Bella) in a play. I got followed by journalists because I’d come from Australia to see them. They are incredibly famous and still do amazing work in Italy. They didn’t go anywhere. Pinocchio was not a universal flop and still made more than the budget and was actually much more true to the writer Carlo Collodi’s tale than the disney version. And The Tiger and the Snow is immensely beautiful I think even better than La Vita e Bella. I would suggest watching it. Roberto has always spoken of his fondness for Woody Allen, I am so proud he will be in one of his films. He is an incredible actor!!!

  • DFSF

    Ugh, I haven’t missed him one second.

  • Voodoo

    He’s been making really bad movies back in Europe.

  • Mr. Holloway

    Ah, yes…the man who taught us all the Italian word for flash in the pan: Benigni.

    Even though I think Allen could potentially do something interesting with him, I honestly had not thought about this guy in years.

  • Stacie

    I love him in Jarmusch movies! Hopefully Allen will let him be himself and tell some kin dof wacky story at 100 miles a minute.

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