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Love in the Time of Cholera in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Love in the Time of Cholera

Javier Bardem • Giovanna Mezzogiorno • Benjamin Bratt
DIRECTOR: Mike Newell

Javier Bardem as Florentino and Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Fermina THE CONCEPT:
Based on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 1985 novel which tells the epic story of a man, Florentino (Bardam), who waits over 50 years for his one true love, Fermina (Mezzogiorno)

U.S. RELEASE: November 16 2007, Nationwide
• Rated: R


“Marquez was hesitant [to give me the movie rights] because he didn’t want to make a big American production of any of his books. But I read the [novel] and I thought it was a very unique love story that’s never really been told about a man that loves a woman his entire life. So I just persisted. When I first talked to him, which was after about a year and a half of absolute rejections, I said, ‘You’re Fermina, you’re constantly rejecting me, and I’m Florentino,’ and he corrected me, and said, ‘No, I’m Florentino.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m not going away.’ I think I won him over through humor.”

“I read [the script] and I saw how astoundingly good it was. Is the movie the novel? No, it can’t be the novel, but does it tell the truth that Marquez tells? Yes it does. The great thing about the book is, it is this great challenge to living, it says, are you like Fermina, timid in the face of life? Or are you insanely, stupidly courageous like Florentino, and what Florentino says is, ‘You may only have 24 hours left, but live it.’ And she says, ‘I’m not sure that I can.’ And he gets her to live, and so there’s this huge triumph of life in the thing.”

“There is a huge responsibility when you do a movie based on this beautiful novel – so complex, so magical, and also so full of tiny details that make the difference between a good novel and a masterpiece. It’s one of those rare books that stays with you your whole life because it is a masterpiece. It is read all over the world in different countries and languages, so everybody has their own Florentino, and their own Fermina, and their own novel in their heads.”

Giovanna Mezzogiorno“It was frightening to play Fermina at the beginning. When I first met Mike Newel I was not supposed to do the whole movie, I was going to be the younger Fermina. But then he called me one morning and said, ‘Givonna, I think you could do all of the movie.’ I was speechless, but I also knew he was giving me a very huge [opportunity] which doesn’t come often in life, so I said okay. Physically it was the most difficult work I’ve done so far.”

“Javier Bardem was my first choice for the role. What are you going to do, get Brad Pitt and give him brown lenses and wavy hair and he’s [going to speak in a Spanish accent]? That’s nuts. Javier is the best Latino Spanish actor that I know. He was immensely charismatic and the most important thing about the character is that he has this extraordinary charisma and it’s all based on how utterly focused he is on his goal, and I felt very confident that Javier could act that.”

“I’m not going to say what an amazing actor Javier is, because we all know that, but for me to work with Javier was a lesson, it was amazing watching him work, I will never forget it. Honestly, he’s the only actor that I’ve ever seen in my life who gives everything to the character in the movie.”

Javier Bardem“The responsibility and challenge is huge because you have to play from 24 to 74 years old. And a movie like this is so complex and so full of detail; you really have to give everything. You cannot hold anything back for yourself.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #690, December 2007 cover

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