Nancy Cartwright Finds Her Way to Fellini’s La Strada
Enjoy this great interview article from Georgia Straight.
It would no doubt do Il Maestro proud. Coming to the Vancouver Italian Film Festival next Saturday (January 6), In Search of Fellini quotes lovingly from the canon of the legendary filmmaker while making a swoony phantasmagoria out of its largely true-life tale of screenwriter Nancy Cartwright’s 1985 pilgrimage to Italy.
If the name rings a bell it’s because Cartwright would eventually find success playing a 10-year-old miscreant called Bart Simpson. Only a few years earlier, however, she was a moderately successful voice actor studying under the famed acting coach Milton Katselas. For reasons best known to him, he advised his young student to screen Fellini’s heartbreaking 1954 Oscar winner, La Strada.
“I think that he could see that I was very clownlike,” Cartwright suggests, calling the Georgia Straight from Los Angeles. “I was studying people like Judy Holliday; I appreciated people like Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Lily Tomlin, so this was a way, I think, for Milton to have me look at a quality that I have to communicate a certain kind of pathos through humour.”
Whatever his intentions, Katselas’s instincts were phenomenal. Cartwright’s subsequent obsession with La Strada would take her to Italy and lend the experiences and material for a one-woman stage show written with long-time collaborator Peter Kjenaas in 1995. With some liberties to the story and a voluptuous style courtesy of first-time director Taron Lexton, those adventures have now provided Cartwright with her debut as a producer.