Thursday, April 18, 2024

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
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also 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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