A full day on the set today with “The Bold and the Beautiful” in the lovely seaside town of Polignano A Mare in Puglia. Here are a few highlights of the day.
My prize goes to Milena Cisternino, a pretty local traffic cop with a killer smile who I found eagerly hanging outside the door of the restaurant where I had just finished interviewing Don Diamont (Bill Spencer, Jr. in “The Bold and the Beautiful”). She told me she has been a diehard fan of “Biutiful” since she started watching in 1990 at age 11 and she was dying for a photo with Don. I am usually on the warpath against traffic cops in Italy, see my post ”Mozzarella Mamma Meets Polizia Municipale“, but this time I decided to help. Don is friendly, affable and seemed to be permanently in a jolly mood. In 2009 he was named by People Magazine as the “Sexiest Man Alive” and was also named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in the world. But he doesn’t seem to have let it go to his head. He happily agreed to the photo.
As Don posed with the traffic cop, I noticed a Red Ferrari parked in the background. Later Scott Clifton (Liam) explained to me that he didn’t know how to use a manual transmission and he had to drive the Ferrari in one scene. An Italian member of the production team gave him a crash course (no pun intended) in using a stick shift and he told me he never wants to drive anything else. Needless to say he did not get a ticket from the traffic cop.
The town of Polignano A Mare is perched on rocky Tufa cliffs and the center of the town is a little inlet with crystal clear water. Throughout the day I looked down enviously at people swimming in the cove below. Jacqueline MacInnes Wood checked out the view after our interview with her. She is what they call the “manipulative and sexy vixen” on the show. My soundman Giuseppe was so smitten by her, I think he went cross-eyed after the interview (good think he was soundman and not cameraman), and couldn’t think of anything but her for the rest of the day.
The highlight of the day’s shoot was Hope and Liam’s wedding.
David Gregg, “The Bold and Beautiful’s” extremely helpful publicist, told me the ivory wedding dress with the tiny buttons all down the back was designed by Vera Wang and together with the hairdo they were attempting a Grace Kelly look. I would say they pulled it off. (While I was checking out the buttons, Hope (Kim Matula) told me, “Don’t worry, there’s a zip hidden underneath).
I only managed to get a few minutes to speak to the show’s executive producer, Brad Bell, a kind man with an apparently low-key approach to a demanding schedule. He told me their reasons for choosing Puglia. He said that they were looking for a place where Hope could escape too because she was being hounded by the press back in Beverly Hills. Her mother, Brooke, hunted for a isolated spot that was “romantic” and beautiful.”
So that was the fictional reason. As far as the real reason is concerned, he explained, “Italy has been good to us, we want to give exposure to Italy and do business with a country so close so our hearts.”
A final note:
As I pointed out in my post yesterday “The Bold and the Beautiful Land in Italy“, I have never watched “The Bold and the Beautiful” and I have been trying to understand why 35 million people around the globe find it appealing. As I sat in the airport waiting area for the flight back to Rome, I looked up and noticed a gigantic advertisement for “Original Marines” clothing. It showed a slender beautiful blond woman who looked a lot like Brooke, gazing into the eyes of a tall, dark and handsome man, who looked a lot like Ridge, two well-dressed, rich-looking blond kids stood beside them. So are people around the globe all dreaming of being rich, blond Americans from Beverly Hills permanently in search of unrequited love? Shallow individuals who at a moment’s notice can hop in a private jet or spend their day on lounge chairs by their swimming pool? I don’t know the answer to my question, but the 25 year success of “The Bold and the Beautiful” indicates that there is something in that formula that works.