Seven Questions for Sophia Loren

The legendary Italian actress talks about traveling in America, her favorite movie role and being directed by her son

Sophia Loren (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)

Sophia Loren (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)

What can we expect at your appearance in the Venetian?

Well, I don’t know. Generally, questions and answers—you talk about your life, you talk about what you went through, about the business, about many things, you know. This is the first time that I do it, so I don’t really know.

It’s something that in Italy we are not familiar with. We never do this kind of thing. So when I heard it for the first time from a friend of mine, I said, “What are you doing? Are you making a film?” He said, “No, I’m doing questions and answers.” I said, “What is that? The title of your next film?” He said, “No: Question and answer means question and answer.” “Yes, but where do you do that?” He said, “On the stage.” Then I said, “No, that’s not for me because when I see the stage, I really tremble, I can’t, I don’t know.”

What made you change your mind?

So these questions and answers started to work a little bit in my mind. I thought, if everybody does it, I can do it, too. But there’s a stage and I know when I see a stage, I don’t like it very much because I get a little bit shy in the beginning. So I was talking to myself, just to convince myself that maybe, if I was asked to do it, I could.

So one day my agent called me and he said, “Would you do a question and answer?” and I said, “A-ha! Now my time comes.” So I said, “Yes. Once.” He said, “No, more than that.” He gave me the number and I said, “OK, let’s do it, let’s see what happens.” We could have fun, we can travel a lot, I can see a little bit of America, of which I have seen very little, because I was always in the movie studios, but outside—no. Now I am waiting to see and to feel how my reaction is going to be—which I think it’s going to be fine. I hope so.

“Yes, you can have fun doing comedy, too. But if you want to leave an important message about life, about war, you have to cope with these kinds of stories, which are real and at the same time very moving.” – Sophia Loren

So it’ll be a chance not just to perform, but to travel?

I’ve been working very hard all around the world, especially in Italy doing many films, many things. I’ve seen many hotels, but I haven’t seen America very much or other places in the world. Sometimes I have to take a vacation and go see the things I’ve really looked forward to seeing. Like Brazil—the music in Brazil, which I adore. Many, many things—the beach, wonderful sea. And now that I have my children, my grandchildren, I am going to enjoy it that much more. Unfortunately Carlo, my husband, is not with me anymore, but we will talk about him a lot and he is always with us anyway.

You recently did a film, Human Voice, based on Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine. Your son directed it. What was it like having your son be the boss?

It’s a wonderful short story. It’s a beautiful masterpiece and I’ve always wanted to do it. We had the opportunity to buy the rights, so we did it and I’m very happy about the result. The relationship on the set when you’re working with your son, it’s a little bit edgy sometimes. But it’s a question of getting accustomed and [not] thinking that he’s your son: Just pretend that he’s your director and you’re two professionals and everything goes absolutely great.

Do you have a favorite out of the films you’ve done?

Well … it’s not easy. But I got an Oscar for Two Women, so I could say Two Women. That’s a wonderful story about war, about a mother and a daughter. It was an amazing story, written by a wonderful writer named Alberto Moravia who’s not with us anymore.

Most movies about war are about soldiers and heroics. Two Women was about how war affects ordinary people. Do you think it’s important to tell that side?

War was war. In Italy that war, it destroyed everything. It was terrible—rape and guns. It was a page of history, which is good if a writer like Moravia writes it, with his skill, with his emotions. If you don’t portray these kinds of things on the screen, what do you portray—silly things? Yes, you can have fun doing comedy, too. But if you want to leave an important message about life, about war, you have to cope with these kinds of stories, which are real and at the same time very moving and very dramatic. An actress should be able to do many kinds of things: You do Two Women and then you do Houseboat. You should be able to do everything.

Your life has been so full—is there anything you still want to do?

Every day I hope that there’s something interesting I want to do. I like to work, I like to achieve things. And I dream a lot also. I am a dreamer, so who knows?

An Evening With Sophia Loren

March 26, 8 p.m., $55-$150, Venetian Theatre,