Controversial Andreotti biopic slotted for May


ROME -- Paolo Sorrentino's controversial off-again-on-again drama about Italian political power broker Giulio Andreotti will be released next May, according to Lucky Red, which will distribute the film in Italy.

The film -- to be called "Il Divo," it was announced Friday -- attracted a great deal of attention last May when Sorrentino, a two-time Palme d'Or nominee, announced he was making the film with the blessing of the 88-year-old Andreotti, a notoriously secretive figure who was Italy's prime minister seven times and who is alleged to have ties to the Sicilian Mafia. The future of the film was cast in doubt when Andreotti said he was unaware of the plans and that he would not cooperate.

But the announcement from Lucky Red pushed aside all doubt about the status of the project, which will star Toni Servillo -- who notched a David di Donatello win for his role in Sorrentino's "Conseguenze dell'Amore" (Consequences of Love) in 2004. Servillo is 40 years younger than Andreotti.

Sorrentino was nominated for the Festival de Cannes' top prize twice -- first for "Conseguenze dell'Amore" and then for "Amico di Famiglia" (Friend of the Family) last year.

Andreotti is one of the most powerful and polarizing figures of Italy's post-war period, with allegedly strong but shadowy ties to both the Vatican and the Mafia. The fictional figure character Don Licio Lucchesi from Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather Part III" -- a pro-Church political kingpin with Mafia ties -- is widely reported to have been modeled on Andreotti, the only member of the current Italian parliament elected when it was first created in 1946.