Reel Rome is the story of a Canadian Language Teacher who accidentally meets Italy’s hottest celebrity on a Roman film set and is offered to Write a Hollywood script for the twisted Playboy Actor. (Based on a True Story).
An impoverished English teacher living in Rome secretly ghostwrites for Italy’s most wanted heartthrob actor only to be driven to further ruins and then forced to flee for his dear life.
Brief Synopsis # 1
A “down-n-out” Language Teacher living in Rome accidentally hooks up with Italy’s hottest heart-throb celebrity and battles to ghostwrite a screenplay.
Brief Synopsis # 2
A debt-stricken language teacher living in Rome finds himself unqualified to teach grammar, dumped by his Polish muse and constantly nagged by his mother. Nothing seems to lead to his writing utopia until the day he accidentally starts ghostwriting with Italy’s hottest playboy actor.
Brief Synopsis # 3
The Eternal City is fertile ground for a down ‘n’ out Italo-Canadian Language Teacher/ Writer who is forced to stay in Italy due to financial debts he inherited from his disease-stricken father. Obsessed with writing for the silver screen, he soon finds his skills needed when he accidentally hooks up with Italy’s hottest rising heartthrob.
A deal is struck with the great Italian Actor to ghostwrite him a Hollywood screenplay in English. Perfect for the studly Roman Actor on Viagra overdrive whose charm gets him everything he wants. The Canadian Writer, however, who barely supports himself Teaching English in a private school, must battle a moralistic school director, spoiled rich students, suspicious neighbors, an incomprehensible landlord, and worst of all, the Actor himself is a mean cheat. While bearing false witness to the Actor’s wife about all of her husband’s sexual escapades, the Writer himself remains heartbroken from his failed relationship with his ex-girlfriend, a Polish chambermaid. And who better to remind him of his confirmed bachelorhood than the frequent visits he gets from his sweet Italian Mamma.
Lights! Camera! Cappuccino!
The Eternal City is fertile ground for LOUIE DI NAPOLI, a down ‘n” out Italo-Canadian language teacher/ writer who decides to stay in Italy due to financial debts he inherited from his deceased father. Louie is obsessed with writing for the silver screen and soon finds his English skills needed when he accidentally hooks up with Italy’s hottest rising heartthrob, MARCO DITTONGO.
Louie, who barely supports himself Teaching English in a private school, must battle PAULINE KINGSLAND, the moralistic school director, ANGELA ROSEMUND, the suspicious neighbor, VINCENZO ROSSI, the incomprehensible landlord, and Marco’s cheating, maniacal ways. While baring false witness to Marco’s wife, HELGA SCHMIDT, about all of her husband’s sexual escapades, Louie himself remains heartbroken from his ex-girlfriend, EVA KRAKOWESKI, the Polish chambermaid. And then who better to remind him of his confirmed bachelorhood than the frequent visits he gets from, FRANCESCA, his sweet Italian mamma.
All roads lead to Rome. Louie, who only speaks home-kitchen Italian, bases his knowledge about the old country via Italian films. From the neo-realistic style, The Bicycle Thief to the romanticism of Il Postino and Cinema Paradiso, Louie has long felt the calling to touch Italian soil. Rome’s reality, however, is a roller coaster ride with all kinds of surprises. From getting a cappuccino to waiting in the Hospital emergency line, Louie discovers that he must battle everything and everyone in Rome.
Heartbroken and alone in Rome, Louie finds solace and comfort in the local Chinese restaurant. By chance one evening, SARA LEE, the Chinese owner, gives Louie a tip about a language job on a Roman film set.
Voilà. Louie meets Marco — the typical example of a muscular, fair-haired and arrogant Roman. He is attuned to Italian fashion, the fake plastic look and the Vogue image of being a modern-day Roman Gladiator. Marco follows the Italian motto: ‘if it is beautiful, it is good.’ A stark contrast to the stocky bookworm. Constantly nursing a Writer’s pen, Louie’s greatest works, unfortunately, gather dust in his mother’s closet. Besides his fear of rejection, Louie’s first and foremost weakness is that he can’t get his Polish Princess out of his mind. Once in Rome, Eva soon finds her way to the Concierge’s bed. The word ‘Concierge’ alone becomes like an ice pick to Louie’s brain. And every time his cell phone rings, it has been programmed to the tune of Chopin’s Polanaise in AB major. Plus when Louie scooters by the Vatican, it is a constant reminder that the old frail man who once occupied the religious office was a Polish Pope.
Louie hasn’t scored with Italian women either. Chic trendy women like his own psychiatrist, DR. MONICA FERRARI don’t make any effort to hear him out. Louie, a poor intellectual, is a family man without his own family to raise. His only surviving relative, his mother, is trying to keep a dignified image of a poor widower to a beloved husband. Louie’s father suffered a long terminal disease and was wheelchair bound soon after a visit to his native land.
Medical debts to pay off and overdue taxes in Canada weren’t the only reason to settle in Rome. Louie simply hated the snow and freezing temperatures. Back in his northern hometown, Sudbury, everything was cold, harsh and uninviting. Gray skies, cold winds, muted colors, soot coating on cement buildings, helps explain some of the motives Louie had for leaving a bleak weathered town and enter the exotic excitement of Bread and Circuses.
Meanwhile, in the eternal city where English is broken, obscured, and twirled like a pizza, Louie accepts the challenge to ghostwrite for Marco the Great.
Marco came. Marco saw. Marco conquered.
Everything in Marco’s world must be big. From Big-boobed-women to big melodramatic productions. Marco is obsessed with conquering HOLLYWOOD. America’s silver screen is the white cane to lead Marco’s starry eyes. Marco is not only a lover but a fighter with twisted chutzpah. From shouting down film projectionists, Catholic priests and girlie men, Marco will do battle with the most powerful and ruthless moguls in Hollywood.
Marco, unfortunately, can’t type, write or even begin to tell a story in any type of logical order. Marco wings everything, relying on balls, luck and looks. Consequently, he turns Louie’s tiny attic apartment into Dante’s Inferno. Louie not only faces major communication battles as he goes on to co-write a supposed Hollywood star vehicle for the Italian egomaniac, a star-struck actor suffering from delusions of grandeur, but the ultimate threat from the tenants. Eviction. The landlord receives endless complaints from Louie’s neighbors about his ‘funny business.’ Exhausted and unprepared, Louie finds it difficult to satisfy the grammatical needs of his STUDENTS or the sexual attraction his boss, Pauline.
Dictating his jigsaw of ‘macho’ adventure stories to the muzzled American Hobbit until the wee hours of the morning is also putting a major strain on Marco’s family. “I’m w-o-r-k-i-n-g with L-o-u-i-e,” is the perfect line, the perfect excuse for Marco to sneak away for several of his romantic rendezvous adventures. Despite his marriage to his beautiful and very pregnant wife, Helga, and the responsibilities of raising his son TOTO and his newborn child, Marco is constantly on the hunt for ‘figa.’ Italian pussy.
While Casanova on Viagra overdrive is enjoying his celluloid requiem, via Italian style, Louie is not indulging in Roman pleasures. Even Louie’s diet is constrained to cheap Chinese takeaway food. His non-existent social life is spent watching the Goldfish in the fish tank at the Chinese restaurant. Marco, who is stingy with his payments to Louie, drains all of Louie’s Time.
All of this for a movie deal that hangs on the thin thread of a horny Italian producer, DANIELE LANDERONE, who is close to his death bed and claims to know a friend of a friend of Sharon Stone.
C’est la vie. Louie missed his ‘chance’ to present his stories to a bona fide movie producer when he semi-attended film school at NYU. And now he has cornered himself into a country that is NOT the land of opportunity. So he rides on the precarious coattails of a neurotic man.
Mamma mia. Has Louie lost his mind? Has the mamma boy been conned? Will the bronze cheat the brains out of a movie deal? Is it Louie’s destiny to be alone and penniless? A romantic idealist like Louie is following the doomed path of Vincent Van Gogh. Who will rescue him?
Fortunately, Italy is the land of miracles. Romance knocks on Louie’s door and for the first time, he hears Wedding Bells. Indeed, the pen is mightier than the sword. But Mamma’s spirituality and cooking also helps.
Written by Vincent C. Torrieri
Registered by WGA: I10787-00
Registered at Library of Congress Pau2-724-719
Registered at SIAE
All Rights Reserved
La Dolce Vita is fertile ground for LOUIE DI NAPOLI, a down-n-out, Canadian/Italian, struggling screenplay writer from Toronto, Canada. When Louie’s father unexpectedly dies while under the care of a negligent doctor in an Italian hospital, Louie and his mother FRANCESCA, are left with great pain and insurmountable debts. Soon Revenue Canada comes breathing down their neck, and Louie, his mother and EVA KRAKOWESKI, his Polish fiancée, cannot afford to return to Canada and decide to permanently immigrate to a small country village near the Abruzzo Mountains in Italy.
Louie, unfortunately, can’t live in a one-room shack with his overbearing Italian mother, so he and Eva move to Rome. With bad ‘chicken-peck’ Italian, Louie struggles to find decent work. Soon he is employed as an English as a Second Language Teacher for spoiled RICH KIDS. The school director, PAULINE KINGSLAND, an uptight British woman, makes it very clear to her STAFF that they are not permitted to Moonlight because it could interfere with their Teaching performance and dedication to the school.
Pauline, who is ten years older than Louie, has a soft spot for him. He, however, only has eyes for his Polish princess. Unfortunately, Eva doesn’t feel the same for Louie. She has an affair with the Hotel Concierge, calls off the wedding and moves back to Poland.
Heartbroken and alone in Rome, Louie finds solace and comfort in the local Chinese restaurant. SARA LEE, the Chinese owner, becomes Louie’s confidant. One evening, she gives Louie a tip about a Dialogue Coaching job on a Roman film set.
Despite risking his Teaching position, Louie decides to secretly give it a whirl, especially because his lifetime dream has always been to work in the film business.
Louie plays hooky from the school for one day. He is quite wooed by the vibe of the Italian movie set. He is introduced to his pupil, MARCO DITTONGO, a TV star – heartthrob with abs of steel. Marco’s ripped, sizzlin’ and really in love with himself. He has a beautiful wife, HELGA SCHMIDT, a young son, TOTO, a dog, BRANDO, and BABY MIMMO on the way.
During the first coaching session, Marco learns that Louie is also a Writer. Suddenly, Marco shifts relationship gears. Like most Italian actors, he too is dying to make it in Hollywood. Marco has an ‘idea’ for a film and figures he can ‘collaborate’ with Louie in writing an American action story: ‘Romulus’ Twenty Lives.’ Louie, meanwhile, sees the opportunity to ride on Marco’s coattails.
Moreover, Marco, who hates the ‘shitty’ Italian film he is currently working on, has threatened to quit several times. Consequently, Marco coerces DANIELE LANDRONE, the producer of his current TV movie, into getting the completed script to a Hollywood Producer. Daniele, who desperately needs Marco to finish the MOW, acquiesces and feeds the star with careless whispers.
The writing collaboration begins in Louie’s tiny attic apartment. It soon becomes clear that Marco hasn’t a clue about writing; ‘conflict’ is any woman who won’t have sex with him on the first date, and “villain” is his wife. While Louie sits in secretarial pose behind the computer, Marco dictates his ideas with burning passion and serious conviction. Marco acts out the scenes with over the top physical gestures. He screams and pounds his chest, the table, or anything nearest to him with clenched fists. Marco prances around the apartment in melodramatic fashion like a stage actor gone mad.
We are taken into a visual journey of Marco’s wild and vivid imagination: Marco having sex with a stripper, Marco wrestling a Lion, Marco marrying an Indian Princess and riding horseback through Central Park. With each writing session, Marco gets more and more carried away. Marco’s fantasy world illustrates the truly egocentric, self-absorbing love the Actor has for himself.
Louie, meanwhile, begins to appear more and more shocked and confused. When wild arguments over structure and logistics erupt, Marco’s loud voice penetrates the thin apartment walls and rebound off the ears of Louie’s neighbour, ANGELA ROSEMUND. Angela is a plain, non-adventurous woman who works at the American Embassy. She begins to speculate that Marco and Louie may be having a gay lovers quarrel and reports the nocturnal disturbance to the Doorman, VINCENZO ROSSI. Thus, the Doorman hands Louie an Eviction Notice.
Marco’s maniacal ways and delusions of grandeur aren’t the only thing Louie must contend with. Marco is constantly cheating on his wife and uses his writing assignment as an excuse to sneak away from his family. He makes Louie a part of his game by asking Louie to lie for him when he’s off having sex. Louie feels trapped. Isolated. His feelings of guilt overtake him every time he sees Helga. Louie, however, knows if he quits the project, Marco won’t pay him.
Pauline, meanwhile, notices a change in Louie’s behaviour. He’s tired and distracted. She also discovers that there was an oversight in her administrative paperwork and that Louie doesn’t have the proper teaching credentials. Fortunately, her attraction for Louie allows the accreditation rule to be overlooked; provided that he proves himself. One night she invites Louie to her place to go over some Teaching points. When Pauline makes her move, Louie is unable to perform. He’s a flop in bed because he has never forgotten Eva. Pauline’s soft spot soon begins to harden.
In the meantime, Helga gives birth to BABY MIMMO and grows more and more tired of Marco’s lies and that he’s always MIA. With each passing day, the Dittongo household feels like a high-pressure cooker. During one writing session, an argument between Helga and Marco erupts.
Dishes go flying. Helga walks out slamming the door behind her. Suddenly, Marco looks at his watch and remembers he has a date. He leaves Louie alone to attend to his crying son, barking dog, and a hungry newborn who needs to be breastfed.
On Louie’s next visit to the Chinese restaurant, he describes his current dilemma to Sara. She immediately introduces him to GIUSI NICOLETTA, another customer and Editor-in-Chief of a tabloid magazine. Giusi proposes he write a “tell all” article about Marco; an expose that could sell millions of copies. She entices Louie with big bucks, future writing assignments and a promise to hook him up with famous film people. Although Louie sees the opportunity, he doesn’t feel compelled to rat on Marco and ruin his family.
Moreover, Louie’s nagging mother is beginning to worry because he hardly ever visits. When she does reach him on the phone, she hounds him about marriage, children, her health, his lackluster writing career, and lack of courage to go out and sell his own writing.
One night when the emotional strain of his life has taken its toll, Louie becomes riddled with anxiety. The shakes and heavy sweating get the better of him. He jumps out of bed, sits down at the computer and begins to write for Giusi’s Tabloid magazine, an expose article about Marco. Words flow freely. Louie suddenly has a change of heart. He reaches for a folder labelled: “Louie’s Story Ideas.” He opens the folder and pulls out several pieces of paper. One story is entitled: “In Loving Memory of my Father.” A touching story Louie wrote about his father being robbed of a full and complete life. Louie begins to read the story and suddenly his anxiety settles. He erases the article he was writing about Marco. We look towards the blank screen and see the words: Fade In.
Over the next few weeks, Louie’s own writing project becomes his therapy. Suddenly he’s able to deal with Marco’s antics with more tranquillity even though Marco’s script is longer than the Wall of China. When Louie tells him it’s too long, Marco yells out, “Fuck Hollywood. They’ll read it because I wrote it! This film will win ten Oscars! Guaranteed!”
Upon hearing the news that the American Producer, MR. ALAN BOURDILLION TRAHERNE (EL DORADO) is staying at the Hotel Excelsior and has asked to see the script, Marco decides to finish the script ‘as is.’ Louie tries to level with Marco telling him that it stinks. Marco, unfortunately, does not want to hear it. Since Marco is tied up on location shooting, he tells Louie to print it and drop it off at the Hotel.
Pauline busts Louie for using the school’s computer printer and fires him immediately. With the print-out only half done, Louie grabs his floppy and his computer laptop and heads out to the nearest print shop in the pouring rain.
Early next morning, Louie’s concerned mother unexpectedly visits. When she finds her son at home, she is puzzled. Louie doesn’t want her to find out he’s been fired. He tells her he’s running out the door but first needs to drop off Marco’s script to an American Producer and then needs to go to the Post Office. His mother is surprised when she hears this. “I thought you said the script was a piece of shit?” His mother says. Louie insists it is and that the producer’s only reading it to do Marco a favour. Louie’s mother looks at her watch. She’s concerned Louie will be even further late for work so she offers to accompany him to the producer, and then take over for him at the Post Office as the Italian Post Office could take all day. Louie agrees. Louie’s plump mother jumps up on the back of his beat-up motor scooter. They first arrive at the Hotel Excelsior. Louie hands his mother the script to hold onto while he removes his helmet. His mother looks down at the envelope and reads the Producers name; Mr. Alan Bourdillion Traherne (El Dorado). Louie takes the script back from his mother and walks into the hotel. Louie hands the script over to the Concierge.
Later on, outside the Post Office, Louie hands his mother a stack of envelopes and a package. Louie kisses her on the cheek and dashes off. While his mother stands in the long post office line, she looks down at the package and sees that it’s addressed to Father Claudio Piccinini in Toronto, Canada. Her curiosity gets the better of her. She opens it and finds a script written by Louie and a cover letter. She reads the cover letter in which Louie wants to confess his sins. He expresses the turmoil’s he’s been experiencing in Rome which propelled him to take a closer look at his own writing career and write for himself.
Louie describes the script he’s written as a heartwarming, moving story which is very close to his heart and needs the Father’s penance, forgiveness and blessing. Louie’s mother is visibly moved.
Since Louie is unemployed, he heads for the lovely Villa Borghese Park and watches children play, couples kiss and swans swim in the pond. He then scoots off to an Internet Café, logs on, and begins to search for a new job. His neighbour Angela, also in the Internet Café, spots him. She approaches. Louie sheepishly says ‘Hello’ and apologizes for his behaviour over the past few months.
Later that evening, Louie has invited Angela back to his apartment for Chinese food. During dinner, they are interrupted by the buzzing sound of the intercom. It is Marco. He insists that they go to a party at Cine Città honouring Federico Fellini. Reluctantly, Louie goes.
At the raucous festivities, Marco’s eyes dart through the crowd. He looks like a dog in heat. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Giusi, the editor approaches. Louie is clearly uncomfortable. He nervously introduces Marco. Marco’s not impressed with Giusi and excuses himself immediately. Louie also excuses himself and fish tails after Marco to discover the real reason behind Marco’s attendance: a tall, fit, sexy, MEDITERRANEAN BEAUTY.
Marco asks Louie to follow them. The three make their way backstage, to an empty make-up room. Marco asks Louie to stand guard in the hallway. Louie begrudgingly agrees. Once again as if out of nowhere, Giusi comes around the corner and sees Louie. Like a purring cat, she approaches. Louie can’t resist her temptress ways; he is overwhelmed. Suddenly loud screams are heard from inside the make-up room. Marco is cursing. Louie looks up towards the door and sees a PAPARAZZI PHOTOGRAPHER running away from the make-up room. Louie has been duped. Giusi purrs and slithers away. Louie shuffles off, head down. Marco quickly comes to Louie’s side. “Louie, don’t worry. Any publicity is good publicity.”
The next day, the American producer’s secretary calls Louie to set up a meeting to discuss the script. Louie can’t believe the producer took the time to read 400 pages of crap. When Marco hears the news, he’s elated. Now he’s really convinced his “shit don’t stink.”
Before the meeting, Marco gives Louie a big bear hug and high fives him. He’s pumped. Seated in the office are: Daniele, the Italian Producer, Mr. Simpanelli, The American Producer, and a beautiful sexy young woman, MANDY, whom Mr. Simpanelli introduces as his niece and who works in Development at his Los Angeles Production Company. Marco is smitten by the American beauty. He winks at her while devouring her long sexy legs.
During the meeting, the American producer continues to only address Louie. Marco hates being upstaged. “I’m the writer,” says Marco. “He just type for me.” The producer goes on to express his feelings about the script with words like moving, romantic, brilliant, a Triumph of the Human Spirit.” Louie is dumbfounded while Marco grins from ear to ear. Mr. Simpanelli then goes into more detail praising the poetic writing of such a touching story. A Polish girl who learns her grandfather was a Nazi General responsible for killing her current boyfriend’s grandparents. Louie gasps when he realizes the producer’s talking about the script he just wrote: “Return to Poland.” The one he wanted the Father in Niagara Falls to read.
Marco is enraged. Understanding the producer is talking about Louie’s script, he lunges out of his chair and reaches for a film award and throws it. Louie ducks. Through the mayhem, Marco asks about his action script to which the producer responds, “It’s a narcissistic journey of one man told with no conflict or villain, and it’s a waste of 400 papers!” Marco stomps out of the room telling the producer to go shove it.
The Producers, fortunately, appreciate writing talent and offer Louie a writing job in Los Angeles, based on Mr. Simpanelli’s script ‘idea.’ The Producers require a talented, sensitive, writer with American sensibilities but who also understands Italian culture. Louie needs time to think about the proposal. He wants to discuss it first with his mother.
When Louie steps out of the building, Marco accelerates towards him on his Vespa. Marco slams on the brakes and jumps off. Louie swears on his father’s grave he never brought his script to the Producer. A fight ensues. Marco throws Louie up against the wall and smashes Louie’s cell phone into a million pieces.
Consequently, Louie winds up with all his might and releases months of frustration by slugging Marco squarely on the nose. Marco reaches for his nose with both hands and yells, “No! Not my nose job.” Marco collapses onto the sidewalk in pain. The Gladiator has fallen.
Louie returns home and immediately calls his mother. He shouts at her for dropping off his script to the American Producer instead of mailing it to The Rabbi. His mother, however, feels no remorse. “Louie, you can’t be a closet writer all your life.” While Louie is on the phone with his mother, Angela, who’s been anxiously waiting to hear about the meeting, rings Louie’s doorbell. Louie answers. Angela becomes very concerned when she sees Louie’s bruised faced and disheveled hair. As Louie wallows in sadness for the way things ended with Marco, Angela becomes his cheerleader and encourages him to move on with his life.
Days later, through a flood of tears, Helga reveals to Louie that she’s ended it with Marco. She hands him a tabloid magazine. Marco is featured on the front cover with his pants down and a red circle covering his private parts. The Mediterranean beauty we learn is actually a transsexual. It was all a set up by Giusi and the transsexual. Louie apologies for his part in covering up for Marco, but Helga decides she won’t be the victim and takes full responsibility for staying in the marriage for the wrong reasons. She reaches for Louie and tightly hugs him. Louie feels awkward in her arms. Helga tells Louie he’s a sweet tender man, and asks why he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Louie is flustered and at a complete loss for words.
Louie and Angela are standing in Louie’s mother’s kitchen while she is hunched over Louie’s suitcase stuffing dry Italian sausages into it. “Ma, please don’t give me any more food. The American’s are freaked out about Mad Cow Disease. Besides, there are a lot of great Chinese restaurants in LA.”
Louie’s mother reaches for him with arms outstretched and gives him a great big hug. Her eyes fill up with tears. Louie’s all choked up. Louie steps back and his mother quickly reaches for Angela, “Please, take good care of my son and make sure he eats.”
The Hollywood sign sits stoically atop the Hollywood Hills and like a vision of heaven, it appears before Louie and Angela. Louie now knows he’s finally come to the right place. He and Angela kiss outside the taxi in front of the Residence Hotel where Angela and the suitcases are being dropped off. “Break a leg, Louie.”
Louie heads to his meeting. Mr. Simpanelli’s sexy niece is at the door to greet him. The office walls are filled with movie posters and the shelves are lined with scripts. Several pictures of Mr. Simpanelli’s WIFE and CHILDREN sit on the large coffee table. On Mr. Simpanelli’s desk is a picture of his sexy niece. She’s striking a sex kitten pose wearing only skimpy lingerie. Louie looks perplexed. She hands Louie a cold beverage and exits the room. While Louie waits patiently, he hears whispering voices from behind the door, then the sounds of giggles and kissing. Suddenly, Mr. Simpanelli enters the room with a visible hard-on protruding in his pants. He walks over to Louie and shakes his hand. It doesn’t take long for Mr. Simpanelli to get right down to business. Louie looks up and sees Mr. Simpanelli now standing on the office coffee table wearing a red cape and dark glasses. He is waving the remote control in his hand like a wand and shouting passionately his screenplay pitch. Louies watches Mr. Simpanelli in stunned silence and utter shock and disbelief. And thus the cycle begins all over again for Louie; different country, same crap.