24-01-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
1960s, Los Angeles: a young and attractive German actress on the launching pad and with a contract ready to play the part of James Bond's perturbing secretary, Miss Moneypenny, poses with her cheetah named Kenya
Her name is Barbara Bouchet and she still doesn't know that "Kenya" is a word that will be heard again more than half a century later, when she will be on the set of one of the all-time blockbuster films in Italy, "Tolo Tolo" by Checco Zalone, shot in part in Malindi.
It took many years, and about 80 films, for the now naturalized Italian actress who dreamed of Africa since she was a girl, to land in the Black Continent and precisely in Malindi.
But a year after the shooting of "Tolo Tolo", where in a nice cameo she plays a mature lady in the tropics equipped with "toy boy", Barbara Bouchet is back on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Malindikenya.net interviewed her in the lush garden of a dear friend's villa.
"Those ten days of filming at the White Elephant were enough and the beauty of Malindi entered my heart - says the unforgettable lover of Ugo Tognazzi in the movie "The Duck in Orange" - the African Nature here is predominant and the relaxing atmosphere is ideal for my lifestyle. The way I see it, Malindi is a great SPA, an oasis of well-being".
Actually the baptism in Malindi was all work, with a very attentive and anxious Zalone on the set, but also fun and relaxing after the takes.
For a navigated interpreter who worked with Italian camera icons like Luciano Salce, Pasquale Festa Campanile and Mauro Bolognini, all according to script.
"It's normal that a very good actor, with a natural comedy like Luca (Checco Zalone's real name, ed.) at his first rehearsal as a director felt a greater responsibility, a bit of "performance anxiety" in short - jokes Bouchet - some days we repeated the scenes endlessly, but there was also a lot of laughter... there's also a funny anecdote: my part was that I had a so-called "toy boy", a young holiday companion. At the casting there are two of them: a more easygoing one, but with a bit of bacon... and I point it out to Luca. So he chooses the other one. But then, every time we had to repeat the scene, he'd throw it back at me. "Eh, well... but it was you who found only two, I repeated it to him!"
In any case, the judgment of the actress who lives in Rome most of the year on "Tolo Tolo" is very positive.
"Maybe someone expected it to make you laugh more - she says - Zalone actually wanted to make you think with a smile, sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter, on an important topic. He's a promising actor and he has ideas, but today it seems that the audience is struggling to think, to accept the intelligent comedy".
Meanwhile, Barbara Bouchet, in splendid form for her 76th birthday, is enjoying her days in Malindi.
"It's my ideal life: in the morning I get up when I feel like it, never too early, I eat lots of fruit, go to the gym for a few hours, take a dip in the pool, and in the evening I see friends and girlfriends. I have found many acquaintances who had already discovered Malindi before me. I have no doubt, Kenya will become one of my favorite destinations, together with the United States where I spend a few weeks and, of course, in Rome.
Relaxing life and slow contact times of Nature in Malindi, but Bouchet doesn't give up her love for cinema.
"And to think that I had decided to leave him - she says - then in 2012 Martin Scorsese's call, to whom I could never say no. So I put myself back into the game, even for some fiction and without giving up the theatre every now and then. The next movie I starred in is the sequel to "Milano Calibro 9", alongside Marco Bocci and Michele Placido, then I'll be in a remake of "Vacanze Romane", in which I play the role of the main character's mother, who in the original masterpiece was Gregory Peck".
And then who knows, another film in Malindi...to have the excuse to come back here as soon as possible.
"Ah but still, you'll see me around here at least once a year, I'll give you that for sure. Also because I still haven't managed to go on a nice safari, one of my dreams ever since I stroked my Kenyan cheetah".
by Freddie del Curatolo
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