At 86, legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren is choosy about the roles she takes on — so much so that she hasn’t acted onscreen since playing her own mother in her autobiographical 2010 TV movie “My House Is Full of Mirrors”.
However, the Hollywood icon is making a return to the screen in “The Life Ahead”, a film that will make its debut on Netflix this fall.
According to Deadline, Loren plays Madame Rosa, a Jewish Holocaust survivor and former prostitute who now earns a meagre living by raising the children of prostitutes.
After she takes in a 12-year-old Senegalese orphan named Momo, he steals her prized candlesticks. When she forces him to apologize, they form a close bond that changes both their lives.
“The Life Ahead” is based on French writer Romain Gary’s novel, which was previously adapted for the screen as 1977’s “Madame Rosa”. The film is directed by Loren’s son, Edoardo Ponti.
“I was always a big fan of the book by Romain Gary,” Loren told Deadline. “When my son proposed the role to me, it was a dream come true. I jumped at the opportunity to make it.
“First of all, the story is so rich: it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, it’s poetic but it’s also a story that is very timely as it deals with the importance of being seen and heard. It is also such a moving story of friendship between two characters that on the surface everything separates: race, religion, culture, and generation, and yet they are two sides of the same coin. I loved portraying Madame Rosa. She is tough, she is fragile, she is a survivor. In many ways she reminds me of my own mother.”
“The Life Ahead” marks Loren’s third collaboration with her son.
“It is a true gift working with a person who knows you as well as you know yourself, there is a shorthand, he gives me strength and security and he won’t give up until I give my very best,” Loren added. “With him behind the camera, I was free to give all of myself. This is an experience I will cherish forever both as an actor and as a mother.”
“The Life Ahead” premieres on Friday, Nov. 13.