The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 13, 1999 - 13
New release introduces Marc
Anthony's salsa to U.S. fans
Anna Maria Tato, Marcello Mastrolanni's companion for 22 years, created "Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember."
to film prtrait ofMastrojanni
'he Washington Post
When Marc Anthony listens to music, he can't sit still. He
does a little samba in his swivel chair, flutters his hands rhyth-
mically against his thighs.
"This first song will be the opening; it's called 'When I
Dream at Night,'" he announces, playing a few tracks from his
new album. He pretends to saw soulfully at a violin as the
strings swell in a crescendo.
"My absolute favorite song" is his intro to the next number.
a ballad he co-wrote for his 5-year-old daughter. He mouths the
words, taps his cheap plastic flip-flops on the floor.
He's in Studio D at the Sony complex on the West Side, a
wood-paneled room with a vast, complex soundboard that
looks as though it could launch missiles; it's where, in fits and
starts over the better part of a year, he recorded the CD "Marc
Anthony," which hit stores last week.
"D as in dog,' says his friend Jennifer Lopez, who's hanging
out in the rear of the studio, eating a takeout lunch.
"D as in dinero," Anthony returns, joking. Sort of.
This CD actually deserves the phrase much-anticipated.
Anthony can sell out arenas on several continents, pack
Madison Square Garden and make history with the way his
albums fly up Billboard's Latin music charts - but that all
barely got noticed by the somewhat insular American main-
stream. He's been a salsa singer who records primarily in
Spanish. Industry insiders and smitten critics have been wait-
ing for the rest of America to discover him.
Claimed as a local hero by both his native New York and his
ancestral Puerto Rico, Anthony contemplated an English
album for at least three years. But he got waylaid by his own
good fortune as he starred in Paul Simon's 1998 Broadway
musical "The Capeman" - the first time many Anglos paid
attention to the skinny guy with the astonishing tenor - and
then spent months shooting Martin Scorsese's new movie star-
ring Nicholas Cage, "Bringing Out the Dead."
If they kept him from touring, from releasing this album ear-
lier, he is not sorry. "If that's a sacrifice"he says dryly, "I could
live with that kind of sacrifice."
But now, a couple of weeks past his 31st birthday, here it is,
with the first single shooting up the pop charts. A non-salsa
album in English might have stirred talk about musical
crossover and cultural assimilation whenever it was released.
To have it hit in the midst of this supposed Latin Moment,
when Latin artists who record in English (Lopez, Enrique
Iglesias, Ricky whatsisname) are getting splashed on magazine
covers, makes the transition trickier. Columbia Records and
another Sony division, Sony Discos - which have signed him
to deals said to be worth more than $40 million for English and
Spanish recordings - stand to make, or possibly lose, a whole
lot of dinero.
The subject of crossover and competition makes Anthony
wince, roll his dark eyes, draw as close to uneasiness as a guy
who's famously friendly and unassuming gets, at least in pub-
lic. Ask him to describe the album and he sighs and swivels his
chair. "That's the hardest thing to do," he says. "I don't know.
It's just the best music I can make this year."
In concert, Anthony has a repertoire of personas. He's a
dervish who dances maniacally as the salsa sizzles, a romantic
clutching his heart when the tempo slows, a master showman
who can strut one moment and roll across the floor the next. He
also communicates stunned disbelief at what's happening; at
the Garden last year, with flowers raining down on the stage, he
often clapped his hands to his temples and shook his head.
Salsa, a percussive urban brew of Cuban and Puerto Rican
forms with jazzy improvisational flair, was hardly hip when
Anthony felt drawn to it a decade ago; it was nostalgic, parents'
music. The salsa world, province of bands in matching suits,
was suspicious of this ponytailed novice. His dance tunes had
relied more on synthesizers and drum machines, and he sang
But he could sing. His three salsa albums broke sales records
and won a raft of awards; Time magazine, voting "Contra la
Corriente" one of the 10 best albums of 1997, called his voice
"a flash of gold." He soon required bodyguards to keep fans
from engulfing him on the streets of Spanish-speaking neigh-
borhoods. By the time Simon's "The Capeman" was about to
open, with huge posters of its three Latin stars (Anthony, his
longtime hero Ruben Blades, his friend Ednita Nazario) plas-
tered around Times Square, Billboard columnist John Lannert
could say "Marc Anthony, in New York, is God" - and not
sound wildly off the mark.
He'd just returned from a tour when Simon invited him to
his apartment on Central Park West. Simon spent four hours
talking and playing songs about a Puerto Rican kid named
Salvador Agron, who'd figured in a famous murder of the
"This is Paul Simon singing in my ear! How cool is this?"
Anthony remembers thinking. "As I'm leaving, putting on my
coat, I said, 'One question. What am I doing here? What was
this all about?"' Simon's response, he remembers, was, "To get
your opinion of the music. And see if you were interested in
being in it. Being Sal."
He was, investing more than two years in the project as it
slowly wound toward Broadway.
Anthony was amused at the way critics and the Anglo media
regarded him. "What they saw was a seasoned veteran they
thought was a beginner," he muses. " 'Wow, this kid has raw
talent!' No, it's polished craft, but you've never been exposed
to what I'vebeen doing for the past seven years. You just did-
n't see it."
Though "The Capeman" swiftly closed it showcased
Anthony before a broader audience, including music execs.
"There's a certain emotion with Marc: When he opens his
mouth, whatever the lyric, you believe what he says," explains
Don lenner, president of Columbia Records.
Anthony's most distinctive trait as a performer isn't con-
ventional sexiness, though he's frequently referred to as a
"salsa heartthrob." It's intensity. Anthony is almost dis-
turbingly thin, angular-faced; he used to wear a pair of spec-
tacles but jettisoned them after recent eye surgery. He por-
trays emotions from lovelorn suffering to wild exuberance
with convincing fervor - which is why he's made an
impression in such movies as "Big Night," though he's
never studied acting.
"He is a very natural actor" says casting director Ellen
Lewis, who suggested to Scorsese that a homeless man, a part
originally written for an African American, could be played by
a Nuyorican. "This character was definitely a stretch, playing a
psychotic guy. But something in the character projects a great
deal of soul, and that's something Marc projects.
Still, music is what compels Anthony most.
"It's exhilarating," he says. "When I sing, I feel like every-
thing I've ever wanted to say, in my whole life, is about to come
out of my mouth."
Los Angeles Times
There's never been a film quite like "Marcello
Mastroianni: I Remember," a 195-minute portrait of the
late actor looking back on his life and career that incor-
porates entire sequences from films he considered sig-
ficant - some of them classics, such as "La Dolce
ita"; others neglected masterpieces, such as "The
Organizer," in which Mastroianni played an idealistic
19th-century labor unionist; and some simply obscure. "I
Remember" unfolds leisurely yet engrossingly as if by
"Many, many TV people around the world wanted to
do profiles on Marcello, but he would say, 'No, no, I
don't like it,"' recalled Anna Maria Tato, Mastroianni's
companion of 22 years and the maker of "I Remember,"
which opened Oct. 1 for a limited release in the United
Tato has made about 70 documentary profiles of film-
makers and artists. "One evening we were looking at my
profile of Orson Welles, and he said, 'Why don't we do
one together?' Nobody would be asking him questions he
didn't want to answer; he didn't want to speak about pri-
It is easy to understand Mastroianni's attraction to
Tato. She is a lovely woman, 40-something, with dark
auburn hair, an olive complexion and a radiant smile. She
is a woman of strong, impassioned opinions, tremendous
tality and humor who has lived a full life of profes-
nal accomplishment that has given her a clear sense of
identity. She acknowledges that there was a lot of con-
flict in their relationship but adds, "I think that's
Tato strived and succeeded in bringing a sense of bal-
ance to her portrait of Mastroianni, capturing both his
durable charm and his capacity for reflection.
In a recent interview at First Look Pictures, the
American distributor of "I Remember," Tato insisted on
keeping the focus on Mastroianni. What she has to say
ibout herself is droll and captivating, but it's quickly dis-
issed and held off the record. Understandably, she's riot
o keen on commenting at length about the other women
who were important in Mastroianni's life - and not at all
on the record.
Tato said she decided she would get Mastroianni to
talk - "I really pushed him," she said - during the
shooting of what would prove to be his final film,
Manoel de Oliveira's "Voyage to the Beginning of the
World," in which Mastroianni played a director who has
returned to his native Portugal for the first time in many
years to shoot a film. "Marcello loved to travel - travel-
was very important to him - and we thought that the
ountains, the landscapes of Portugal would be a very
good background," said Tato, who grew up in Southern
Tato rounded up a small crew of old friends, headed by
renowned cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, who
would be able to shoot fast - there was no time for sec-
ond takes - and unobtrusively between Mastroianni's
scenes for Oliveira.
A lot of Mastroianni's talking in fact takes place in
transit, which gives the film a sense of constant flow, and
of a life unfolding. ,Mastroianni insisted that whole
Ouences from his films, not just clips, would be used.
The idea was to give as much breadth and depth as pos-
sible to the actor and the man, who was above all con-
cerned with skewering the Latin-lover image that "La
Dolce Vita" had given him.
Mastroianni had too much charisma and had been
linked to too many beautiful women - on screen and off
- to hope to escape that stereotype, but he and Tato do
a terrific job moving beyond it to show us the man who
could take his art seriously without taking himself too
seriously. He was proud of his humble roots as the son
and grandson of carpenters, and he loved his profession.
"Marcello really was loved by everybody," said Tato
with the bemused weariness and resignation of a woman
who has had to share her lover with the world. She twice
mentioned that he was not without defects but was not
about to enumerate them.
Tato was a film journalist, edited and designed series
of film books and organized cultural events in connec-
tion with the release of various major European films
before becoming a filmmaker. She became acquainted
with Mastroianni when, in 1978, director Marco Ferreri
permitted her to make a film about the making of "Bye
Bye Monkey," which he shot in New York with
Mastroianni and Gerard Depardieu.
While Ferreri, her good friend, was crucial in bringing
her and Mastroianni together, it was another friend, none
other than Federico Fellini, who gave her a crucial piece
of advice: "Remember, Marcello is one of the most intel-
ligent men I have ever met. Don't underestimate him."
Tato pointed out that "it's not hard to be erudite - any-
body can read lots of books, but the important thing is to
read deeply," referring to sequences in the film in which
Mastroianni discusses Chekhov at length with much
appreciation and understanding.
Tato and Mastroianni lived principally in the hand-
some Paris flat where he died Dec. 19, 1996, of cancer at
This "man of Rome," who was born in Fontana Liri, a
town not far from the Eternal City, preferred living in
Paris, said Tato, because "Paris is more discreet. He
could go out and get a baguette in Paris without anyone
bothering him. That would not be possible in Rome. Also
his daughter (Chiara, whose mother is Catherine
Deneuve) lives there, and he wanted to be near her. He
was a good father."
By October 1996, Tato had completed filming more
than seven hours of footage with Mastroianni, and he saw
all of it - twice. He went to Italy on tour in "The Last
Moons," a play about heartbreak and old age, which Tato
said was the country's biggest theatrical success in 20
years. "He gave his last performance on Nov. 6, which
meant that he was working less than two months before
After getting past the demands of arranging memorials
both in Paris and Rome for beloved Mastroianni, Tato set
about editing her film, incorporating the sequences she
and Mastroianni had agreed upon and discovering such
tantalizing archival material as a tango number from the
stage musical "Ciao, Rudy," in which Mastroianni played
another legend, Rudolph Valentino.
She pressed on, encouraged by Ferreri (who suc-
cumbed to a heart attack in May 1997), who told her she
had a duty to complete "I Remember," which went on
that year to premiere in a 95-minute version in Cannes. It
won a prize at Venice in its full-length version and played
to an enraptured full house at the New York Film Festival
in Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall.
Whether the release of "I Remember" will open doors
in America for Tato's previous work, which includes sev-
eral feature films, remains to be seen. In any event, she's
not looking back.
"Now I want to do long profiles on Fellini, Ferreri and
Sergio Leone." She also admits to wanting to be a little
lazy, too, enjoying a nice meal in a pleasant setting, and
savoring good wine. "This is life, too."
Pupknshre new :manag er,
become pr of Ozzy's'ail
Los Angeles Times The Pumpkins split late last year school, I grew up on the road and in
Call him paranoid, but Ozzy from the New York-based company this business. It's the only thing
Osbourne always has felt disrespect- Q-Prime, and their search for a know."
ed by rock critics, which explains replacement has provided major grist She was hired to help with the
why he lashed out recently at the for the rumor mill. family business at age 15, and, when
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Industry players from John Silva Arden became a manager for Black
repeatedly snubbing his old band, (who represents the Beastie Boys Sabbath in the 1970s, she met he
Black Sabbath. and Beck) to Michael Ovitz's Artists heavy-metal husband-to-be.
Too bad for Ozzy that Billy Management Group have been Now, with Black Sabbath bowing
Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins among the purported candidates, but out after a successful reunion tou
doesn't handle the inductions. instead the band will go with an out- the mother of five finds herself rep
"(Black Sabbath), that's the sonic sider on the modern-rock scene. resenting one of the biggest bands in
obsession," Corgan once told Rolling "There's going to be some bruised rock.
Stone magazine. egos, I'm sure," the Englishwoman "This is the goods, it's not like I'm
"Those are some of the best- said. "I think (Corgan) wanted some- bartering off with Tommy Lee,' she
sounding records ever made. ... one who would be hands-on, some- said. "Billy is a huge talent, and the
'Masters of Reality' sounded pretty one who doesn't have a whole roster band is hugely talented."
awesome to my wee ears with the of superstars, somebody who has Osbourne expects to be busy -
doubled Ozzy vocals. Right there been around a long time.... Nobody the Pumpkins' new album is due in
you pretty much have the Pumpkins has the history I do." February and a world tour will fol
sound: that voice cutting through the Indeed, Osbourne grew up on tour low. But she says her job is also
thick guitars." buses and standing near the spot- about helping artists survive an
Sabbath and the Pumpkins will light. Her father, Don Arden, carved thrive. "I'm married to one, I know
share more than a sound - Corgan's out a reputation as one of Britain's what they're like," she said. "The'
alt-rock powerhouse search for a new most colorful and controversial pro- are delicate people. They're not lik
manager has ended with a surprising moters. us."
selection: Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy's "My first memory is being on the Speaking of Ozzy, what was hi
wife and Sabbath's manager. road with Sam Cooke, and Gene reaction to becoming his wife's sec
"Billy talked to every manager in Vincent taught me how to swim," ond-biggest client? "He was so
the industry, I think, and he liked me Osbourne said. happy,' Osbourne said. "He called
best," Sharon Osbourne said with a "Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, I Billy up and welcomed him to the
chuckle. "And I can't blame him." met all of them. I never went to family."
- -L, N!ffU t I