Home Uncategorized Cannes First: Lead Actor of Italian Movie in Jail for Murder

You want weird? Aniello Arena, the star of Matteo Garrone’s brilliant new film, “Reality,” is in prison for life for murder. In Italy. He was cast by Garrone from his prison theatre troupe.

Watching the movie, a sort of Truman Show look at the effect of reality TV on a Naples village family, you’d   never guess that the charismatic fellow playing Luciano is in real life a murderer serving a 20 year to life term. He was able to make the under some kind of Italian work release program. He’s described in Italian newspaper reports a “lifer” in his prison. And a brilliant actor.

Arena  could easily wind up winning Best Actor here. He won’t be able to attend the ceremony if so. Whoever gets “Reality” for American distribution gets quite a story. Details are sketchy but more to come⿦

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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