Michele Soavi

Michele Soavi

Short Biography: 
From All Movie Guide: A protégé of Dario Argento who matured to develop a unique style of his own while at once carrying the tradition of such Italian horror icons as Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda, Michele Soavi almost single-handedly kept the slumping Italian horror/fantasy tradition afloat in the 1990s with his strikingly original philosophical zombie film Dellamorte, Dellamore (1994). Born in Milan, Italy in 1957, Soavi began to develop his artistic flair after forming a close bond with his stepfather following his parents' divorce. Though Soavi wouldn't follow his stepfather's career path to become a painter, it did encourage the aspiring young artist to tap into his creativity and enroll in creative arts classes and, as a teenager, develop into a talented actor. Signing up for acting lessons at Milan's Fersen Studios following high school graduation, the photogenic youngster would soon find that though he was a skilled actor, his true talent was behind the camera. Offered a job as assistant director by Marco Modugno after appearing as an extra in Modugno's Bambule (1979), Soavi continued to act in such films as Alien 2 and City of the Living Dead (1980) while serving in multiple capacities including assistant director to filmmaker Aristide Massaccesi in the early '80s. Making the acquaintance of director Dario Argento during production of Inferno (1980), similar aesthetic tastes found the two forming an immediate bond and a longtime working relationship commenced with Soavi's work as second assistant director on Argento's Tenebre (1982). Subsequently working with Lamberto Bava in such efforts as 1985's Demons, the aspiring director would serve as director of the documentary Dario Argento's World of Horror as well as a promotional Bill Wyman rock video (both 1985) before embarking on his maiden voyage as a director with Stage Fright (1987). A highly stylized slasher film embellished with numerous creative touches and shot on a miniscule budget, Stage Fright served as an effective calling card and won much acclaim despite only moderate success in his home country. After working as an assistant director to Terry Gilliam for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Soavi would harness all of his mentor's lessons in filmmaking for preparation of his most ambitious effort to date, The Church (1988). Originally envisioned as the third installment of the Demons franchise, The Church instead earned acclaim as an atmospheric exercise in meditative religious apocalyptic paranoia despite being criticized by some as another case of style over substance (a criticism frequently made of his mentors). After a lukewarm reception to his next film, The Sect (1990), Soavi rebounded with the high-concept Dellamorte, Dellamore. A curious mixture of political commentary, inspired fantasy, and traditional zombie splatter, Dellamorte was hailed by filmmaker Martin Scorsese as one of the best Italian films of the 1990s and found Soavi coming into his own as a filmmaker of remarkable caliber and style. As fast as he found success however, Soavi would disappear from sight to care for his terminally ill son. Though he returned to the director's chair with a pair of made-for-television productions in 2001 (Uno Bianca and Il Testimone), Soavi fans continue to eagerly await the day he makes his return to features
The Interview: 

DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE, has much more comedy than your last three films...

Yes, i like the connection, humour and horror, and i produced the film by myself, because i wanted to do something  different than the produced films from argento. It is boring to make everytime the same. It was a risk to make such an unusual film, with a nearly britsh sense of black humour. These Irony is not so usual in italian movies 

How did you do it, that the Eurimages Fund Of The Council Of Europe also produced the film?

We sent them the screenplay,and they liked it, also three european countries had to be involved in the film. DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE is a co production with italy, france, and germany 

But isn´t it unusual ,that they co produced a zombie film?

We could  explain them, that this is not a "normal" horror movie. They liked the screenplay,the character of DELLAMORTE reflects the youths of today: He is allready 30 , but has fear to grow up and to be confronted with real life Dellamorte is lonesome and melancholic. He does emotionless his job, on day, he buries the people  he must kill them in the night. THe World of Francesco Dellamorte is is full of live, while the "living"world around him, seems like a cemetery. At the end of the film, the "two worlds" are not seperated anymore. 

How did you come to Rupert Everett for the role, rumor is that Matt Dillon was supposed to play the role?

I think, that this film, has a very "european" story and a european actor, fits simply better in this role. Ruperts style was perfect for the Character of Francessco Dellamorte. Also Rupert really looks like the "Dylan Dog" comic figure from Tiziano Sclavi and the writer of the DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE novel Rupert immediately liked the screenplay, he has never made a horror film before, but actually this is not a horror film, more a film about the fear of life 

You have worked with Simon Boswell, Goblin and Keith Emerson for your movies. How did you come to Manuel de Sica for DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE ?

Tangerine Dream was supposed to do the soundtrack, but due other stuff, they couldn´t finish the music. DE Sica is very flexible. It was easy to explain him, what kind of music i wanted.

Are there huge differences between the novel and the screenplay?

IN the novel, Francesco Dellamorte´s character is described to negative, i wanted to change that. The novel is "episode" like, not really clear...and much bloodier!

You have started in the filmbiz as an actor..

I wanted after the school time, to start in the filmbiz, so i thought as an actor it would be the easiest way. In my first years as an acors, i watched  the directors doing their jobs. After some time i was  involved 
behind the camera as a second director assistant, cut, etc,..I have done nearly everything 

Tell more about your teachers...Aristide Massaccesi

He teached me the essence of filmmaking, his films are made with a very small crew, allmost like a family

Dario Argento...

He teached me the technical stuff. With him in the post production and cut, i knew what it is to be a director

Terry Gilliam... (Soavi was Second Unit direcor in Adventures of Baron Munchhausen) 

He teached me the other aspects , for example the character development

Was Dellamorte Dellamore a success in Italy ?

Fortunately yes, the european horrorfilmtradition is somehow lost in the last years.. 
The future doesn´t look so good