Actor James D’Arcy had originally intended to star in his own directorial debut Made in Italy, but the film he had written took so long to be made he became too old to play the lead character.
Inspired by the death of his own mother, D’Arcy’s film follows London-based artist Jack who faces divorce and the loss of his beloved gallery. In order to find the money to buy it back from his soon-to-be ex-wife, he goes on a trip to Italy with his estranged father to revisit their dilapidated holiday home there in the hopes of selling it. Along the way, memories of the past and the trauma of losing their mother and wife in a car crash come to the fore, forcing each to reassess their current lives.
Real-life father and son Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson are at ease playing Robert and Jack, made all the more affecting as they too lost their wife/mother, Natasha Richardson. But it’s far from all doom and gloom, with the narrative of grief punctuated with dry wit and lighthearted banter – Lindsay Duncan in particular steals scenes with some brilliantly cutting lines as a no nonsense estate agent. And, if nothing else, spending an hour and a half in the stunning Tuscan hills after months of lockdown is just the escapism many viewers will need.
We spoke with D’Arcy about the long road to getting his first film made, the joys and challenges of working with screen veteran Neeson and his son Richardson, and how he hopes his film brings some laughs and Italian sunshine to people’s living rooms, as well an authentic representation of dealing with grief.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 24th March 2021.
Made in Italy is released via Amazon Prime Video on 26th March 2021.
Watch the trailer for Made in Italy here: