I was lucky enough, thanks to an invite from my buddy Chris Casey, to spend a few hours watching Keoma on the big screen at USC Film school, and listening to a question and answer sessions before after the film was shown. Two days later we spent almost 7 hours with him and his son Andrea Castellari a well- respected cinematographer, assistant director and dirtector.
Some of the things Enzo told us and were mentioned at the two meetings were the following.
Enzo confirmed a story I had heard from my late friend Don Bruce that the skeleton seen in the grave of Arch Stanton in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was a real skeleton. At first they used a fake but Sergio didn’t like the look. One of the crew members suggested using his mother’s skeleton that she had donated to science and they brought her skeleton over from Italy and used in the scene where they open Arch’s grave and find a skeleton not the $200,000 in gold.
The other theory Enzo confirmed was the opening scene in The Genius was directed by Sergio Leone who was the producer of the film. The film was directed by Damiano Damiani but Sergio directed the crazy opening scene that set up the film.
Enzo told us William Berger knitted between scenes.
Enzo’s fingers were the fingers you see in Keoma when Nero says he will pay 4 cents for 1-2-3-4 bullets.
Enzo’s favorite American western is Appaloosa with Marlon Brando and John Saxon. His favorite of the films he directed was Keoma because he had complete control of the film as far as directing, screenwriting etc. He loved the story and had a screenplay written for it but when he received the finished screenplay he sent a copy to producer Manolo Bolognini and both agreed it stunk, so they created the screenplay as they went along inventing scenes and dialogue every day of filming. Enzo edited the film listening to Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan songs and had the De Angelis brothers copy their style for the film’s score.
Enzo co-directed A Few Dollars for Django with Leon Klimovsky but after the first day of filming Enzo could see that Leon wasn’t really interested and never did more than one take of each film scene no matter how bad they were. Enzo called his father director Marino Girolami and told him to please come to Spain he needed his help. Marino flew to Spain and took over the film from Leon telling him he was to say “Action” and “Cut” and he and Enzo would do the rest. Enzo’s first solo credited western as director was Payment in Blood.
Enzo will be filming a new Euro-western in Almeria in March of 2015. The working title is “The Angel, the Brute and the Wise” it will star Franco Nero with many cameos including Tomas Milian, Gianni Garko and George Hilton. He told us the opening will include three masked riders Quentin Tarantino, Roberto Rodriguez, and Eli Roth who will reveal their faces when they pull their masks off. Also a poker game will include cameos by Bud Spencer, Terence Hill, Fabio Testi and John Saxon. Check out the IMDb for the up to date cast list. Originally set to shoot in South Africa it was changed to Almeria when Enzo attended the 2014 Almeria Film Festival and we was offered free access to several of the film sets, animals, western wagons etc. and the use of their stuntmen.