Dante Ferretti

AS: Scorsese said he met you on the set of the Fellini movie City of Women.
Yes, in Rome. I also did six movies with Fellini. Scorsese came to see Fellini when we did City of Women and then one day he called me to design The Last Temptation but I was busy with Terry Gilliam on Baron Munchausen. I had to say, I can’t, but then when he called me again with The Age of Innocence I said, Okay, I’m coming! because it pained me to say no to Martin Scorsese! Because he is my hero. I’ve done eight movies with him so far. I know him very well, he knows me very well. What can I say, I’m very lucky!

AS: How would you describe the difference between working with Fellini and working with Scorsese?
It’s different because with Fellini it’s always Fellini’s movie. It’s always him. You can see it in many ways but it’s always Fellini. When he was young, when he was a kid, when he was a teenager, when he was thirty years old. You see all the movies and Marcello Mastriani is always him. When I worked with him it was like I was a prisoner! He would call me at six o’clock every morning and then until nine or ten o’clock in the evening. Also, Fellini was a liar. A big liar. I started to learn to be a liar too! When he asked, Dante, what did you dream last night? At first I’d say, Nothing. Then after two or three times it’s like, Oh my God, now I have to say something! I started to invent my dreams. He knew I was a liar too but he wanted to hear and understand my fantasy world. Finally he said, Dante, you are more of a liar than me!

AS: Would Fellini draw a lot of pictures himself?
Yes, he always made little sketches. He liked to design the women’s costumes and some of the sets. But he always gave me freedom. I would do exactly what he liked so we had a very good relationship. I started with City of Women and I did all the movies until the last one, The Voice of the Moon with Roberto Benigni.

AS: Scorsese said he tried to help him release the last one in the United States.
I remember discussing this with Fellini. Scorsese tried to help Federico but it wasn’t easy.

AS: Is Scorsese also a visual director like Fellini?
With Marty it’s fantastic. After I read the script we spend many hours together discussing the look. He shows me many movies, sometimes just to see a couple of scenes. I say, Okay, I understand, and then he gives me freedom. I do the sketches and the models and they give me all the freedom to do what I think is right for him. I did eight movies with him and every time Marty came to the set and said, Oh, great, fantastic, this is what I want. Or sometimes he said, Is it possible to have a little bit more of this, or that? But it’s really fantastic to work with him because I feel free to do what is better for the movie, what is better for him.


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