The film stars Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren and two-time Golden Globe-winner® Donald Sutherland as a runaway couple going on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker, travelling from Boston to The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West. They recapture their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end.
Paolo Virzì was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1964. His father was a Carabinieri police officer and his mother a former singer. After spending his early childhood in Turin in the north of Italy, Virzì and his family moved back to Livorno, where he grew up in Le Sorgenti, a working-class neighborhood.
Virzi's versatility became apparent as a teenager, when he spent most of his time writing, directing and acting in plays for local drama companies.
He later left Livorno for Rome to study screenwriting at the time-honored Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia film school, and graduated in 1987. His teachers included well-known film director Gianni Amelio and Furio Scarpelli, who wrote some of the greatest Italian movies of all time. Scarpelli was to play a crucial role in Virzì's life, becoming his mentor and his "maestro". With him, Paolo co-wrote the screenplay for Giuliano Montaldo's Time to Kill, based on the Ennio Flaiano novel and starring Nicolas Cage, as well as several other projects for cinema and TV.
Virzì made his directorial début in 1994, with La Bella Vita, the story of a love triangle set against the backdrop of the irreversible identity crisis of the Italian working class. The movie premiered at the 1994 Venice International Film Festival and went on to win the Ciak d'oro award, the Nastro d'Argento award, and the prestigious David di Donatello award in the "Best New Director" category.
In his first film, Virzì's talent for directing actors already shone through, as well as his skilful handling of serious issues with an ironic touch, mixing drama and humor. His following film, Ferie d'Agosto (1995), featuring an impressive cast of Italian stars, was an ironical reflection on political tension in Italy after Silvio Berlusconi's triumphant appearance on the political stage. The film won the David di Donatello Award for "Best Film" of the year.
Ovosodo (''Hardboiled Egg'', 1997), named after a neighborhood in Livorno, is one of Virzì's most personal films. Despite being strongly rooted in local lifestyle and accents, Ovosodo received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike: the Venice International Film Festival jury, presided over by Jane Campion, awarded Paolo Virzì the Jury Grand Prize.
In 1999, Virzì directed Baci e Abbracci (''Kisses and Hugs''), a mixure of fable, social comedy and a Dickensian Christmas tale, which, once again, portrayed life in a provincial community seduced by the irresistible appeal of modernity.
My Name Is Tanino (2002), was shot in Sicily, Canada and the United States. In this movie Virzì confirmed his talent scouting skills, with the Canadian actress Rachel McAdams appearing on the screen for the first time in a small role.
Virzì's next feature, Caterina Va in Città (''Caterina in the Big City'', 2003), is dedicated to Rome, a much loved and hated city, with its enthralling discoveries and its bitter setbacks. Margherita Buy won the David di Donatello and the Nastro d'Argento awards for Best Actress in 2004 playing Caterina's mother, while 13-year-old Alice Teghil, who played Caterina, won the Guglelmo Biraghi award.
N (Io e Napoleone) (''Napoleon and Me'', 2006), is Virzì's attempt at combining Italian-style comedy with a historic period piece peppered with allusions to the present day. N features an international cast, including French icon Daniel Auteuil in the role of Napoleon, Monica Bellucci and a young Elio Germano in his first starring role (he then went on to win Best Actor at Cannes Film Festival in 2010).
Virzì's next project, the ensemble piece Tutta la Vita Davanti, is one of his most scathing and bitter films. It is a grotesque comedy with an apocalyptic vision of the world of work. The film won a slew of awards, including the Nastro d'argento and the Globo d'oro (Italian Golden Globe) for Best Film, as well as the Ciak d'oro for Best Film and Best Director, not to mention the many other prizes awarded to the actors in the movie.
In October 2008, the Annecy Cinéma Italien granted Paolo Virzì the Sergio Leone Award in recognition of his overall career achievements. In 2009 Virzì shot La Prima Cosa Bella (''The First Beautiful Thing''), released in Italy on 15 January 2010. The project took him back to his hometown, Livorno. The film stars Micaela Ramazzotti, Valerio Mastandrea, Claudia Pandolfi, and Italian film icon Stefania Sandrelli, who starred in films such as Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist and Pietro Germi's Divorce, Italian Style.
La Prima Cosa Bella received 18 nominations for the David di Donatello Award in 2010, winning Best Screenplay (by Paolo Virzì with Francesco Bruni and Francesco Piccolo), Best Actress (Micaela Ramazzotti) and Best Actor (Valerio Mastandrea). In July 2010, the film won 4 Nastri d'argento awards: Director of the Best Film of the Year (Paolo Virzi), joint Best Actress Micaela Ramazzotti and Stefania Sandrelli, Best Screenplay and Best Costume Design to Oscar- winner Gabriella Pescucci.
The European Film Academy shortlisted Paolo Virzì for the Best European Director award 2010. In September 2010, the Italian Film Industry Association (ANICA) selected La Prima Cosa Bella as Italy's Official Academy Award® Entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards®. On November 9, 2010, La prima cosa bella opened the Cinema Italian-style Film Festival in Los Angeles. In January 2011, the film was presented at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
In October 2012, Tutti i Santi Giorni ("Every Blessed Day") was released in Italy. It was Virzì's tenth feature film. Loosely based on Simone Lenzi's novel "La Generazione", the film follows the lives of Guido and Antonia (played by Luca Marinelli and singer-songwriter Thony) and their attempts to start a family.
In 2013, Virzì was appointed as director of the 31st Torino Film Festival. His tenure was marked by a 30% increase in attendance.
In January 2014, Human Capital, Virzì's eleventh feature film was released in Italy. Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi won the Best Actress award at the Tribeca Film Festival, for her leading role as high-society housewife Carla Bernaschi. The film went on to receive 19 nominations for the 2014 David di Donatello awards, winning seven, including Best Film. The film also won a number of other major Italian awards, including six Nastri d'Argento, four Ciak d'Oro, and the Globo d'Oro for Best Film, a prize awarded by members of the international press. Human Capital was chosen as the official Italian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Academy Awards®.
In 2016, La Pazza Gioia (Like Crazy) was released, with Micaela Ramazzotti and Valeria Bruni- Tedeschi as leading characters, playing two patients running away from a mental institution. The film premiered as part of the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, and 400 copies were distributed in Italian theaters as of May 17th 2016. La Pazza Gioia won 5 Nastri d'Argento and obtained an impressive 17 David di Donatello nominations.
Stephen Amidon was born in Chicago. He is also the author of a book of short stories and seven novels, including The New City and Human Capital, which The Washington Post selected as one of the five best novels of 2004. Paolo Virzì's Italian film version of the novel, Il Capitale Umano, won best film at the 2014 David di Donatello, Nastri d'argento, and Globi d'oro awards, and was selected to represent Italy as Best Foreign Language film at the 2015 Oscars. Amidon has also written two non-fiction books, reviewed films for the Sunday Times and the Financial Times, and contributed to various newspapers and magazines in the United States and Great Britain. His books have been published in sixteen countries. He lived in London for twelve years before returning to the United States in 1999. He currently divides his time between Massachusetts and Torino, Italy, where he is on the faculty of Holden School. His serial drama 6Bianca debuted at Teatro Stabile in Torino in February 2015. The Real Justine, Amidon's seventh novel, has recently been released.
Francesca Archibugi is a film director and writer based in Rome. She began her film career writing and directing short films in the 1980s; her first three feature length films, Mignon è partita (1988), Verso sera (1990), and The Great Pumpkin (1993), were each awarded several David di Donatello awards including Best New Director for the first and Best Film for the second and third. Her more recent screenwriting credits include Questione de cuore (2009) and Il nome del figlio (An Italian Name) (2015). Prior to collaborating on the screenplay for The Leisure Seeker with Paolo Virzì, she also co-wrote La pazza gioia (Like Crazy) with him.
Francesco Piccolo is an Italian author of novels, short stories and screen plays. In 2014, he won Italy's leading literary award the Premio Strega for Il desiderio di essere come tutti. He has published numerous novels and short story collections, and is the recipient of several literary prizes.
In the cinema, he has worked on screenplays for My Name Is Tanino, Paz! (based on cartoons by Andrea Pazienza), Ovunque sei, Il caimano (The Caiman) (which was awarded the 2006 David di Donatello for Best Script), Nemmeno in un sogno, Caos calmo (in which he also made an appearance) and Giorni e nuvole (Days and Clouds). Prior to collaborating on the screenplay for The Leisure Seeker with Paolo Virzì, he also co-wrote The First Beautiful Thing and Human Capital with him.
He has also written for newspapers and periodicals, including la Repubblica and Diario. Piccolo lives in Rome, where he runs the screenwriters' laboratory for the DAMS course at Roma Tre.
Helen Mirren has won an Oscar® , Emmy, SAG Award, Tony, multiple BAFTA Awards and Golden Globes, as international recognition for her work on stage, screen and television. For her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 in The Queen, she received an Academy Award®, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Actress. She was also named Best Actress by virtually every critics' organization from Los Angeles to London. In 2014, she was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for her outstanding career in film.
On stage, in 2015 Mirren reprised her role as Queen Elizabeth II on Broadway in "The Audience," a play by Peter Morgan, directed by Stephen Daldry, for which she won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. In 2013, she debuted her stage role of Elizabeth II in "The Audience" in London's West End, for which she received the Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award, and 2014 WhatsOnStage Award, for Best Actress.
Mirren will next be seen in Winchester, portraying Sarah Winchester, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Most recently, she was seen in The Fate of the Furious, Collateral Beauty, Eye in the Sky, portraying an army Colonel in a world of remotely piloted aircraft warfare, Trumbo, portraying Hedda Hopper, and Woman in Gold, portraying Maria Altmann, the Austrian Jewish refugee who fought to reclaim her family's art that had been stolen by the Nazis in World War II.
Other recent films include 100 Foot Journey directed by Lasse Hallstrom and produced by Stephen Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and the HBO biopic Phil Spector, for which she won a SAG Award for her performance and was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Additionally, she voiced the character of 'Dean Hardscrabble' Monster University. Previous works include Hitchcock, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG Award, RED and RED 2, John Madden-directed thriller The Debt, in which she plays a Mossad agent, and Hungarian director Istvan Szabo's The Door.
Mirren began her career in the role of Cleopatra at the National Youth Theatre. She then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she starred in such productions as "Troilus and Cressida" and "Macbeth." In 1972, she joined renowned director Peter Brook's theatre company and toured the world.
Her film career began with Michael Powell's Age of Consent, but her breakthrough film role came in 1980 in John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday. Over the next 10 years, she starred in a wide range of acclaimed films, including John Boorman's Excalibur, Neil Jordan's Irish thriller Cal, for which she won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and an Evening Standard Film Award; Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast, Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and Charles Sturridge's Where Angels Fear to Tread. Mirren earned her first Oscar® nomination for her portrayal of Queen Charlotte in Nicholas Hytner's The Madness of King George, for which she also won Best Actress honors at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Her second Oscar® nomination came for her work in Robert Altman's 2001 film Gosford Park. Her performance as the housekeeper also brought her Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations, several critics groups' awards, and dual SAG Awards, one for Best Supporting Actress and a second as part of the winning ensemble cast. Most recently, Mirren earned both Oscar® and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in The Last Station, playing Sofya Tolstoy.
Among her other film credits are Terry George's Some Mother's Son, on which she also served as associate producer, Calendar Girls, The Clearing, Shadowboxer, State of Play, The Tempest and Brighton Rock.
On television, Mirren starred in the award-winning series Prime Suspect as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. She had earned an Emmy Award and three BAFTA Awards, as well as numerous award nominations, for her role in early installments of the Prime Suspect series. She won another Emmy Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination when she reprised the role of Detective Jane Tennison in 2006's Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act, the last installment in the PBS series. Most recently Mirren was also honored for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in the HBO miniseries Elizabeth I, winning an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award®.
Her long list of television credits also includes Losing Chase; The Passion of Ayn Rand, Door to Door, and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, earning Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG Award® nominations and awards.
Mirren has also worked extensively in the theatre. She received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in "Mourning Becomes Electra" at London's National Theatre. In 2009, Mirren returned to the National Theatre to star in the title role in "Phèdre," directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner.
Helen Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.
Donald Sutherland is one of the most respected, prolific and versatile of motion picture actors, with an astonishing resume of well over one hundred and fifty films, including such classics as Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen; Robert Altman's M*A*S*H; John Schlesinger's The Day of the Locust; Robert Redford's Ordinary People; Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900; Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now with Julie Christie; Alan Pakula's Klute with Jane Fonda; Federico Fellini's Fellini's Casanova and in Brian Hutton's Kelly's Heroes with Clint Eastwood, who later directed him in Space Cowboys.
Sutherland was producer, screenwriter and star (voicing the lead character, 'Captain Johnson') of Pirate's Passage, an animated movie based on William Gilkerson's acclaimed novel, winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for Children's Literature in 2006. The film recently won the 2016 international Kidscreen Award for "Best Special or TV Movie" Sutherland was 'President Snow' in all four enormously popular film adaptations of The Hunger Games series.
He has appeared as Nicole Kidman's father in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain; as Charlize Theron's father in F. Gary Gray's The Italian Job and as Mr. Bennett, Keira Knightley's father, in Pride and Prejudice. For the latter he received a Chicago Film Critics nomination. He starred opposite his son Kiefer in Forsaken, a period Canadian Western, which premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival.
Sutherland's extensive film credits include Paul Mazursky's Alex in Wonderland; Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun; Bud Yorkin's Start the Revolution Without Me; John Sturges' The Eagle Has Landed; Herbert Ross' Max Dugan Returns; Louis Malle's Crackers; Phillip Borsos' Bethune; Oliver Stone's JFK; Ron Howard's Backdraft; Richard Marquand's Eye of the Needle; Euzhan Palcy's A Dry White Season with Marlon Brando; Richard Pearce's Threshold, for which he won the 1983 Genie Award as Best Actor; Fred Schepisi's film adaptation of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation; Robert Towne's Without Limits; and John Landis' National Lampoon's Animal House, in which he made a memorable cameo appearance. He has starred as the voice of 'General Stone' in the animated feature of the manga classic, Astro Boy; in Andy Tennant's Fool's Gold; in Griffin Dunne's Fierce People with Diane Lane; in Robert Towne's Ask the Dust with Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell; in American Gun with Forrest Whitaker; in An American Haunting with Sissy Spacek; in Land of the Blind with Ralph Fiennes; in Aurora Borealis with Louise Fletcher and Juliette Lewis; in The Eagle, opposite Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell for director Kevin Macdonald; in Simon West's The Mechanic with Jason Statham and Ben Foster; in Seth Gordon's Horrible Bosses as Colin Farrell's father; in Mary McGuckian's Man on the Train with U2's Larry Mullen, Jr.; Milton's Secret, a feature adaptation of Eckhart Tolle's beloved children's book; and Measure of a Man, based on Robert Lipsyte's young adult novel, One Fat Summer.
In television, Sutherland won both Emmy and Golden Globe awards as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the HBO film Citizen X and he won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Clark Clifford, advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson, in the HBO historical drama Path to War, directed by the late John Frankenheimer.
Sutherland starred in 2016 in the premiere season of the AT&T Audience crime drama series, Ice; alongside an international cast in Tandem's action crime series, Crossing Line; and in the highly-successful long form adaptation of Ken Follett's best-seller, The Pillars of the Earth. Sutherland co-starred with Peter Krause in the ABC-TV series Dirty Sexy Money. For his performance as the family patriarch, Tripp Darling, he was nominated for a 2007 Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor. Prior to that, he co-starred with Geena Davis in the ABC drama series Commander-in-Chief, and was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of House Speaker, Nathan Templeton. At the same time, he was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor for his performance opposite Mira Sorvino in Lifetime Television's much-lauded miniseries, Human Trafficking.
On stage, Sutherland starred with Justin Kirk and Julianna Margulies in a sold-out, critically acclaimed, Lincoln Center engagement of Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns. For that performance he received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Best Actor. He also starred in the London, Toronto and Los Angeles productions of Enigmatic Variations, an English language translation (by his son Roeg Sutherland) of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's French play.
Donald Sutherland was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1978 and a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in France five years later. In 2012, he was awarded the highest French honor, the Officier des Arts et Lettres.
Christian McKay is a British actor working in theatre, film, and television. He is also a classical musician, singer, and concert pianist. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and the Royal College of Music. Prior to his role in 2017's The Leisure Seeker, McKay appeared in many films including Florence Foster Jenkins (2015); Churchill's Secret (2015); The Theory of Everything (2014); Rush (2012); Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2010); and Me & Orson Welles, in which he played the title role (Orson Welles, not Me). His latest television appearance was in 2016's Netflix series Frontier. He will next be seen in the films Crooked House and Provenance and in the television series The No Hopers.
Two time Emmy Award nominee Janel Moloney is best known for her work as "Donna Moss" on The West Wing. More recently, Janel appeared for three seasons on HBO's critically acclaimed The Leftovers. Other recent film and television appearances include Sundance hit Concussion and recurring roles on Amazon's Alpha House, NBC's Blacklist and this season on American Crime.