Cannes: 'Youth' Actress Books Trio of Projects (Exclusive)

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Madalina Diana Ghenea will star in 'Condemned to Love,' the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Barry Morrow, and will make her Hollywood debut in a comedy.

Model turned actress Madalina Diana Ghenea has caught Cannes' attention with her bottom – on beautiful display on the poster for Paolo Sorrentino's competition title Youth – but soon her acting, and not just her posterior, will come into sharp focus. Ghenea has three new projects lined up, including two starring roles and a supporting part in a major Hollywood production. She will shoot them back-to-back-to-back through October this year.

Ghenea will play the lead in Condemned to Love, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Barry Morrow (Rain Man), which she describes as a “magical love story” akin to Chocolat, Amelie or Midnight in Paris, with shooting set to start this summer in Italy's Dolomite Mountains. The male lead – an American actor – is currently being cast.

In September she take on her first leading role in an Italian-language production, a drama set in the shady world where the Vatican and the mafia meet. Before that, she'll have her Hollywood debut. Ghenea declined to comment on what the project will be, but she's believed to have been cast in Zoolander 2 alongside Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. The fashion spoof, the sequel to the 2001 cult classic, is currently shooting in Cinecitta Studios in Rome.

“I have been so lucky, I don't have that much experience in acting yet – I only started four years ago and I took a break of a year, so this is amazing,” Ghena told THR in Cannes. “I have to thank my casting director in Rome, Lilia Trapani Hartmann, who got me my two American projects. She's been my lucky charm.”

The Romanian-born, Italian-based actress first attracted attention in a supporting part in Richard Shepard's Don Hemingway and had a recurring role in European television series Borgia before landing the role in Youth as the object of desire of Harvey Keitel and Michael Caine.


Ghena says she doesn't mind the attention Youth's graphic poster is generating -- “I don't find it vulgar at all, I find it beautiful” -- but hopes it will be her body of work that gets the headlines in the future.

“I have three projects coming up; I'm blocked till November. So I guess I'm doing a good job with my auditions,” she said. “And when I go there, I don't show them my booty.”