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under the "hollywood" sun
movie unlike famous book, fans could rebel

by Nicole Martinelli, zoomata.com

Under the Tuscan Sun, the sentimental story of an American fixing up a villa in one of Italy's most beautiful regions, just got a movie fix-up. Touchstone Pictures recently wrapped up the shooting in Cortona of a story which has little in common with the autobiographical tale in the book but sports the well-known title.

Instead of a middle-aged-ish, married humanities professor (Frances Mayes) movie-goers will get a sexy Diane Lane as a single lawyer who finds love with handsome Raoul Bova, the Italian actor best known for a nearly-naked calendar and who also boasts a miniseries credit as St. Francis.


In Tuscany


Under the Tuscan Sun & Bella Tuscany

The rolling hills of Cortona sound like the only thing the book and movie have in common, but then again Under the Tuscan Sun has practically morphed into a brand-name for an international community who longs to lead the dolce vita in Italy.

The rolling hills of Cortona sound like the only thing the book and movie have in common
In a relatively short time, Mayes has done for Tuscany what Peter Mayle has done for Provence -- create an industry catering to would-be expats and armchair travelers . Her 1996 book was a bestseller for two years, translated into 14 languages, spawned a sequel ("Bella Tuscany"), coffee-table photo extravaganza ("In Tuscany") and a calendar.

"The rhythm of Tuscan dining may throw us off but after a long lunch outside, one concept is clear -- siesta," writes Mayes in her first book about La Toscana. "The logic of a three-hour fall through the crack of the day makes perfect sense. Best to pick up that Piero della Francesca book, wander upstairs and give in to it."

Right, so it doesn't make for an action-packed scene, but screenwriter Audrey Wells has also thrown other picturesque Italian locations into the mix including Florence, Positano, Montepulciano, Siena and Rome.

Although set photos from the unofficial site show a perfectly chic Lane trotting about a perfectly lovely Italy, fans of the book are unlikely to accept her as the everywoman heroine of the print version when the movie arrives in US theaters in the autumn of 2003.

Editor's Note: Zoomata.com editor Nicole Martinelli first came to Italy spend junior year in Florence back in 1991 -- and stayed. Now based in Milan, she divides her time between producing content for zoomata and freelancing for outfits including Newsweek, BBC, Becker Entertainment and Abitare TV.

Nicole has been known to proudly produce handfuls of official Italian documents at the least prompting; she also holds a degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University, a Masters in Media & Communications from the Universit´┐Ż degli Studi di Firenze and belongs to the Italian Order of Journalists. Recent after-work activities include research into stolen holy relics and advanced slalom on a Vespa.


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