Just shy of five months since its theatrical release, Rob Marshall's NINE finally surfaces on DVD. The musical, nominated for five Golden Globes and four Oscars, unjustly was panned overall by critics and above this was released on a very competitive Christmas Day which saw the monster known as Sherlock Holmes steal just about everyone's thunder. Unfortunately, it performed well under its $80 million budget domestically earning $19 million only. Overseas it has fared much better, bringing its worldwide gross to $52 million. That's still a loss of over $30 million for its backers, The Weinstein Co. And this is hopefully where it will recoup more of its losses. I hope my one DVD sale helps. Read my original review of the film here.
For fans of the film, the DVD offers a very generous helping of Special Features. In addition to a Commentary by Marshall and his romantic partner/Producer John DeLuca, there are a total eight Featurettes. You can learn about the recording of some of the film's key musical numbers and the filming of the scenes they are associated with, plus all about the Costumes and Choreography too. You also learn about the casting of the film's seven female stars and apparently during the casting stages of the film, Marshall saw just about every leading actress in Hollywood - actresses who normally don't have to audition. He made his choices based on who he felt he would be able to work best with after getting to know them personally. The chosen actresses all attended eachother's rehearsals during filming, offering moral support to one another and became like a family. They would work together, eat together and party together. To this day, Sophia Loren claims they all exchanged numbers and still keep in touch with one another.
Loren who plays Guido's (Daniel Day-Lewis) mother was the first actress to be cast by Marshall, who told her, "If you don't say yes, I won't be continuing with this project" and of course she agreed. Penélope Cruz who won the most acclaim for her performance as mistress Carla, confessed to crying for three days after filming because she became so attached to her character and rehearsing her part every day so intensely. Originally she had auditioned for the role of Claudia, which went to Nicole Kidman eventually. Kidman had been chosen for the role out of respect to now-decesased screenwriter Anthony Minghella who absolutely adored her. Interestingly, Marion Cotillard originally auditioned for the part of Lilli, Guido's confidant and Costume Designer, but wound up being cast as his wife Luisa. Kate Hudson and Fergie wowed everybody on set with their ability to be fearless and how well they both delivered.
We learn about star Daniel Day-Lewis' work ethic and how he delved completely into his role, walking around set speaking in an Italian accent and even sending his cast mates notes in stationery signed Guido Contini. How cute is that? Apparently his own mother even was ecstatic that Loren was to be in NINE with him.
Marshall according to the cast, was a dream to work with, always nice, encouraging and patient, in gently coaxing multiple takes out of the actors. Loren said it best, "he tortures you and you don't even know it."
NINE is a wonderful film. It is a goregrous and glamorous spectacle to be experienced and yes, it is just as wonderful to watch the second time around. The film is now available on DVD via Alliance VivaFilm. Grade: A+