Italian Actor Leo Gullotta to Be New Woody Allen Voice in 'Nero Fiddled'

The veteran actor will dub Allen's voice in the production, which was filmed in Italy; Gullotta will replace esteemed Oreste Lionello, who died in 2009.

ROME – Veteran actor Leo Gullotta has been selected to be the voice of Woody Allen starting with the upcoming release of Nero Fiddled, the Italian press reported Tuesday, replacing the acclaimed dubber Oreste Lionello who died three years ago at the age of 81.

Gullotta, 66, who has acted in more than 100 films over a 50-year career including three from Oscar-winning director and fellow Sicilian Giuseppe Tornatore, is also a noted dubber, having worked as the voice of Joe Pesci in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America and other films, Bert Young in the Rocky series, and the Italian voice of Manny in the Ice Age series of animated films. But he told The Hollywood Reporter that working as the voice of Allen would be one of the highlights of his career.

“The Italian newspapers [Tuesday] said ‘Woody Allen is mine,’ but that’s not the case at all,” Gullotta said in a telephone interview. “I just do a kind of simultaneous translation with some acting thrown in. But the role is his, and it’s a great honor.”

Gullotta said dubbing Allen presented some unique challenges: “With the way he speaks, the pauses are as important as what is said,” Gullotta opined.

Nero Fiddled, which was filmed in Italy, will have its world premiere in Rome on April 20, two days before going into limited release in the U.S. It is the first film since 2006’s Scoop in which Allen appears as an actor, meaning it will be the first time in years an Italian audience will hear Allen dubbed by someone besides Lionello, who Allen has said he admired greatly.

“In Italy, Oreste Lionello for ages made me a much better actor than I really am,” Allen said following Lionello’s 2009 death.

Italian dubbers are considered to be among the world’s best, and the practice of dubbing films is widespread: many major releases do not even make versions subtitled into Italian, or the subtitled versions are released well after the dubbed versions. There’s no official word whether Nero Fiddled will be released both dubbed and with subtitles.

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