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Our man in Rome, Robert Bernocchi tours the massive sets of The Gangs of New York... and he takes us all along...

Father Geek here with a very special report from our Euro-AICN editor, Robert Bernocchi, from the beautiful sets of THE GANGS OF NEW YORK in Italy... 67 great photos and 3 different video tours... Check it all out below...

Hi people, as you have already understood from the headline, I was lucky enough to visit the Gangs of New York sets in Cinecittà. More important, I was so lucky to find it exactly as it was more than a year ago, when the shooting wrapped. In fact, I got some information from a Cinecittà insider, who told me that Scorsese asked to leave the sets unchanged in case he had to shoot more stuff.

Of course, Miramax payed for this (and I suppose than to take these huge sets unavailable for so long is not very cheap for the producers). What can I say? It's great, in every sense. Actually, this is a small town!

I divided the reportage in three sets, even if they are strictly connected. You can see the pics and the videos by clicking at these pages:

Click here to see the 1st part of the tour...

Go here to visit the 2nd part of your set tour...

And check this spot out for the end of your trip into the set.

For every page, you have to click on "Guarda la galleria multimediale" at the right of the page to see the pics. Moreover, for everyone of these pages there is a video (which you can see by choosing which option, 56k, ISDN or ADSL, you prefer also on at the right of the page) to make you (and your readers) understand how huge the sets are and how the houses are disposed.

In the first set, was recreated the New York harbor, thanks also to a big basin that was full of water. In the video you'll see a raft which has nothing to do with GONY (actually it was used recently for a commercial). Even the belfry which you can see briefly behind is not part of Gangs of New York. From the first set, there are also a few pics within the Mcintyre's saloon.

In the second set, there is the famous church which was the object of many quarrels between Scorsese and Harvey Weinstein, who wouldn't pay more money considering that there was already a two-sided facade to the building. Eventually Weinstein capitulated and agreed to lavish another 100.000$ for the church. And it was a very good idea, because on the outside it looks gorgeous (while the interior was empty since they probably realised the scenes within the church elsewhere).

The most beautiful thing of the third set is a huge palace in ruins. It had to cost a lot of money!

After this visit, I can easily affirm that this movie could be shot only at Cinecittà. And not only because it is cheaper to make the movie here than in the States (as it is cheaper to block the set removal for more than a year here), but mostly thanks to the great ability of Cinecittà craftmen and workers, which I'm sure will be greeted with an Oscar for the production designer Dante Ferretti. And the Oscars seem to be the most important reason of the release date delay.

I spoke with a person who worked in GONY in a very important position and he was sure that Miramax prefers to release the pic in Christmas as a perfect contender for the Academy Awards. He also told me that the shooting was delayed "just" a few weeks (due to Martin Scorsese well known perfectionism) as regards the original schedule and not the months that many newspapers wrote. Even the budget, in his opinion, is closer to the 90-100 millions range than to the 120 some rumors suggested. Even if (considering his work) my source can't be very objective, he seemed very confident that GONY will be a masterwork and the occasion for the Academy to greet finally Martin Scorsese's career.

Hope you like this...

My Best,

Robert Bernocchi

Vice responsabile Caltanet Cinema

Via di Torrespaccata 172 - 00100 Roma

Readers Talkback
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  • June 9, 2002, 11:15 p.m. CST

    In USA Today...

    by The Feral Kid

    ...they said that the film would be Weinstein's 2 hour 40 minute cut and that the DVD release would not be Scorsese's original 3 hour 40 minute cut. This was a while back, a few weeks or so, but there hadn't been much "Gangs..." info since then. I hope that this film does well, it would be nice to see Scorsese furnished with budgets that would allow him the films he wants to make. Still, think of Scorsese going back to his bare bones of the 70's with Mean Streets, his Roger Corman work and Taxi Driver. Independent films did quite well this year, those and some auteur films (even if I don't follow that theory really). "Gosford Park" in the $50 million range, "Monster's Ball" and "In the Bedroom" with $40 million dollar pulls. Even "Mulholland Drive" did decent considering that that film is something completely different than anything else most people have ever seen. Sadly, "The Man who Wasn't There" came and went but I think that was the way the Coen's wanted it, they're a funny bunch - but getting people to go see a black and white film not directed by Spielberg is like pulling teeth. Whatever. I don't even know why in the hell i wrote this thing.

  • June 9, 2002, 11:54 p.m. CST

    Harvey Scissorhands ain't fit to shine Marty's cuff-link

    by Cash Bailey

    Give me FULL-STRENGTH Scorsese or colour my ass seeing something else. Ahhhh, who am I kidding? I'm gonna see this flick no matter what that fat, greedy fuck does to it.

  • June 9, 2002, 11:59 p.m. CST

    CHECK THIS OUT! Funniest thing I've seen in months!!

    by Cash Bailey Jeez, there's some clever people in this world.

  • June 10, 2002, 1:43 a.m. CST

    You're a bullshit artist, Feral Kid

    by Arnzilla

    No such article appeared in USA Today. The cut we see this December will be the director's cut, the DVD cut, the definitive cut. So there. :-P

  • June 10, 2002, 2:06 a.m. CST

    Three weeks ago in USA Today...

    by Arnzilla Rebutting Feral Kid's spin on the article, it actually quotes Scorsese as saying "We've had our disagreements, but ultimately we came to terms... There will be no director's cut on the DVD. This is it. We got it down to two hours and 40 some minutes." Stating that it's Weinstein's cut and not Scorsese & Schoonmaker's is utterly ridiculous and makes the director out to be an artistic weakling and a morally bankrupt imbecile.

  • June 10, 2002, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Marty's B.O in the last 10 years...

    by virkku

    As a general rule, the film should make three times as much money as it cost to make a good profit. This is because marketing and distributing expenses cost a lot of money to the studio, and they only get a certain percentage from the theatre chains. Theatrical B.O is the big majority of the income, but some films succeed relatively well on video. For example Shawshank made only around 50 million at B.O, but then became the most rented VHS of the year. So here are Marty's only films from the 90's that MIGHT have made profit: Casino cost 52 million and made 110 million worldwide (+20 million in rentals just in USA). Age Of Innocence cost 34 million and made 32 million in USA (probably 30-40 million overseas). Goodfellas cost 25 million and made 46 million in USA + 20 million from rentals (it made probably around 100 million worldwide). But the big winner is of course Cape Fear. It cost 35 million and made 180 million worldwide. Plus in USA alone it made 40 million in rentals. Kundun and Bringing Out The dead bombed, but they both cost only around 30 million. So in the last 12 years Marty has had one smash hit, three likely profitable, solid performers and two bombs. Not a bad track record.

  • June 10, 2002, 2:50 a.m. CST

    I may have overreacted, Feral Kid.

    by Arnzilla

    It was just the way you said "Weinstein's 2 hour 40 minute cut" and the funny way you cocked your head when you said it. Sorry.

  • June 10, 2002, 3:37 a.m. CST

    PLEASE READ - movie fans everywhere!

    by Bill Harford

    to get another GREAT report on this set and the movie and scorsese himself - the IFC documentary show (with maysles) about "GONY" is really fascinating. check it out. oh, and as a side-note, just because i've ALWAYS wanted to do this on AICN, any movie peeps out there (especially you college-age type geeks, like me), please feel free to e-mail me and chat. i'm always up for a nice chat with other film fans all across the globe. im a usc student here in la, and rather free for some cine-talkin' - please write! e-mail me at peace out, y'all.

  • June 10, 2002, 3:57 a.m. CST

    I'm with you, Evil Reader

    by Arnzilla They should've grabbed a few shovels and dug up the actual locations just so they could shoot the film in New York. Now, as for you Larry, Scorsese's so-called cut was never 3 hours and 40 minutes long. This was last October and Scorsese labelled it an assemblage of footage. David Poland said on his website that you'd have to be a moron to think that cut was meant for release. The cut reviewed on AICN the first week in February was 3 hours long. Scorsese probably removed about 16 minutes since then. One more thing. It'll most likely open a week or two before The Two Towers. With the press it gets, I seriously doubt it will be overshadowed.

  • June 10, 2002, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Not so amazing

    by Arnzilla

    The July Esquire says that Miramax appears to have its eye on early December.

  • June 10, 2002, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Sure, it's got great sets

    by rev_skarekroe

    So did "Heaven's Gate". This movie is going to suck balls. Scorsese is a bloated sellout who hasn't made a decent picture in twenty years! Naw, I'm kidding. I just thought this talkback was remarkably troll-free and that I just do something about it. Seriously, Scorsese makes the best fucking films. sk

  • June 10, 2002, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Not in NYC

    by mykll42

    I don't think the lack of actual locations in NYC would be held against it by any sensile critic. It's not like they're making a movie in the 20s, so all they have to do is take the air conditioners out of the windows and bring in some antique cars. Transforming lower Manhattan into mid-19th century Manhattan would be well nigh impossible.

  • June 10, 2002, 3:38 p.m. CST

    GONY will be pummeled at the box office by LOTR....

    by metsrulein2k

    and GONY will lose production design and cinematography, the 2 it has the best chances of winning, to LOTR, and since LOTR has gotten so much buzz around the sequel from news outlets and awards shows, along with a HUGE video and DVD push, GONY will be lucky to have a 15 million opening!

  • June 10, 2002, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Fuck Box Office

    by Riedenschneider

    What counts is if this movie is going to be a masterpiece or not. And it will! How can it not you fools: Mean Streets - GoodFellas - Casino - Gangs of New York...!!!! And by the way Cimino's carrer DIDN'T end with Heaven's Gate. That's a myth for and by people who don't know Filmhistory. Cimino made his masterpiece AFTER Heaven's Gate ("Year of the Dragon" that is). So, see you this winter...!

  • June 11, 2002, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Scorcese's masterpiece? Without De Niro/Pesci?

    by workshed

    Getoutahere. This film is costing more than Scorcese's first ten films combined total and, mark my words, it will suck. I don't know if anyone has noticed but Leonardo De Caprio is in it(His rebuke from Marty for not taking the shoot seriously speaks volumes about the shallow freek. Scorcese's true legacy is rooted in the 1970's and, for me, his short documentary/observation, 'ItalianAmerican' and 'The Last Temptation of Christ' are his most personal and, ultimately, rewarding works.

  • June 11, 2002, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Scorcese's masterpiece? Without De Niro/Pesci?

    by workshed

    Getoutahere. This film is costing more than Scorcese's first ten films combined total and, mark my words, it will suck. I don't know if anyone has noticed but Leonardo De Caprio is in it(His rebuke from Marty for not taking the shoot seriously speaks volumes about the shallow freek). Scorcese's true legacy is rooted in the 1970's and, for me, his short documentary/observation, 'ItalianAmerican' and 'The Last Temptation of Christ' are his most personal and, ultimately, rewarding works.

  • June 12, 2002, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Is it just me...

    by Halloween68

    Am I the only one who really doesn't think this will be a good film? Am I? Hey, I'm a huge Scorcese fan. The sets look marvelous. And I think in the right conditions, this could've been a classic addition to Scorcese cinema. But what the fuck!?!?!? The man must a had a huge case of diarhea in and out of the brain when he made the casting decisions for this. Decrapio, Cameron? I can't bring myself to take any of this seriously. When I hear news and notes on this production, most often I want to gag... Because of what could of, what should have been. This casting issue I have goes beyond simple lack of faith in actor and actress ability. Although Cameron is not a good actress. She's hot, but she's not a good actress. Let's not kid ourselves. She needs to stay in comedy. A serious, intense drama will only serve to make her look wofully bad. DeCrapio, as much as I dislike him, actually can somewhat act, although he still hasn't quite proven himself for a role at this calibur. My issues with Leonardo come from the fact that he is simply miscast in every movie, because of his draw of teenage girls. The kid looks like a little girl with glued on facial pubes. No serious film fan will take him seriously because he's not physical enough nor intense enough to take on roles with more impact than a high school band major on Dawson's Creek. This is nothing personal against the actor or actress in general... I just wish the casting could have been made based on the roles and not on hormonal popularity. Oh, and on one final note. The irish accents I've heard from the two in the trailers are hilariously laughable. How can someone sit through this and take it seriously? The accents were worst than Brad Pitt's in A Devil's Own. Much worst. They didn't give Pitt much more than one liners. LD and CD have starring roles. They're going to have to do entire scenes time after time in these irish accents. Cleese's french accent in Python's Quest for the Holy Grail sounded more genuine. "Now go a-wayyyy, or shall taunt you a seconddd tiim-a." He, he. I dunno'. Again, is it just me, or does anyone else see a problem with any of this? And please, mr. Scorcese, please don't tell us DeCaprio is the Deniro of the new generation! Please no! I weep for the future if he is. Again, no offense to the kid. Michael J. Fox made a very good, respectable living portraying kids and respectable non-threatening individuals his entire career. Look to the light, Leonard, look to the light.

  • June 12, 2002, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Amazing Larry

    by Halloween68

    Unfortunately, so did A Beautiful Mind. Open a week after Rings that is. This could be the film that critics and awards committees use one again to disclaim Rings for the sake of genre bias. Could it be once again? Snubbed for best picture and best director? Wouldn't that be a coincidence?

  • June 12, 2002, 11:52 p.m. CST


    by Arnzilla

    Comparing the accent of Pitt with those of DiCaprio and Diaz is just plain silly, Halloween68. The characters played by the latter grew up in New York and, in Scorsese's words, have very flat Irish accents, Diaz more so than DiCaprio since she was raised by the Nativists. The accents created for the film by the actors, director, and dialect coaches are basically just speculation based on what these kinds of people sounded like in that particular time and place. Daniel Day-Lewis' accent is as much an educated guess as those of the Irish characters. So to say that they are not "genuine" makes no sense.