Gabriele Salvatores slams the first clapperboard on Comedians

Filming has begun in Trieste on Gabriele Salvatores’ new title Comedians, a screen adaptation of the play of the same name which confirmed Trevor Griffiths’ playwright status. Written in the early 1970s, the play is set in a Manchester evening school, where a group of aspiring comedians reunite for a final rehearsal before performing for a London-based agent. The first production of the work was directed by Richard Eyre – who was artistic director at the Nottingham Playhouse at the time – and was first performed on 20 February 1975 (with Jonathan Pryce and Stephen Rea starring in the cast). The American premiere was held on Broadway under the aegis of Mike Nichols and, since then, the play has been performed all over the world.

“Many years ago, I directed Comedians at the Elfo Puccini Theatre in Milan”, explains Salvatores. “The play, which starred young actors who went on to become very famous, subsequently ran for three years and Griffiths was very happy with it, and when I recently suggested adapting the text for the screen he replied, very enthusiastically, “Go ahead with all speed. You'll do it well’”.

Starring in the cast, and reflecting on the importance of comedy and of standing by the choices we make, are Ale and Franz, Natalino Balasso, Demetra Bellina, Marco Bonadei, Elena Callegari, Aram Kian, Walter Leonardi, Riccardo Maranzana, Giulio Pranno and Vincenzo Zampa, with a special appearance from Christian De Sica. Awarded an Oscar for Mediterraneo (1991), the director this year announced a collective documentary, Viaggio in Italia, which gathers together the emotions and fears felt during the pandemic (read our news). Salvatores previously directed The Invisible Boy [+] (2014), The Invisible Boy – Second Generation [+] (2018) and Volare [+] (2019). Comedians is produced by Indiana Production and Rai Cinema in collaboration with the Friuli