Journalist: Thank you, good evening. Some questions I had were already asked, stolen by Fabio! Returning to the character of "Nobody" from My Name is Nobody, in which you worked with Henry Fonda under the direction of Sergio Leone, perhaps you could give us an idea about who was really the director of the film, if it was Valerii or Leone, even if the fingerprint of Leone is very evident. The character of "Nobody", what he represents in the history of that era of the western, becomes in some way the audience, becomes the screenwriter, becomes practically the scriptwriter of the film because he is the one who in reality is also the director given that he guides the acts of "Beauregard", therefore he is a bit the character who acts as a bridge between the classic western and that of your character of "Trinity".
Terence Hill: Well, I should first answer the question concerning “Nobody”. My Name is Nobody came after the two Trinity films and was conceived of and created by Sergio Leone because when the second Trinity came out, he admired this film very much but he did not expect it to have much box office success. He was surprised however, when the film came out at the same time as A Fistful of Dynamite / Duck, You Sucker with Charles Bronson and James Coburn and we did better than they did. At that point in time, Leone had decided to stop making westerns, but he was still in love with the genre, so he conceived of a film that was like his own story and how he wanted the western to end. I came to understand this during many visits with him, and that he identified with the Henry Fonda character, who was confronted with a new character who was portrayed by me. The character was a bit like the hippy of that era, don’t you think? He slept, lazed around, reacted only when provoked, had no worries and lived day to day with great joy. So Leone wanted to make one last western and it was a very premeditated western, done with great care and professionalism. Three scripts were written but Sergio liked none of them, the last one having been inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey, but even that one did not work. But Sergio wanted to keep the name Nobody which is why it was called My Name is Nobody. Everyone asks me if the film is by Sergio or by Tonino. I don’t want to answer this question out of tactfulness, however I can say that it was Sergio Leone’s baby because he had wanted it so badly. I didn’t know him at the time but he came to me and said: “I want to make a film with you, on a large set, with more financial backing, more serious, with more meaning, epochal”. He really liked epics. Tonino Valerii was his assistant director so there was, you could say, a lot control coming from him. Sergio Leone, whom we all love, saw his moment in that film, and said he wanted to leave the western but wanted to leave a story like Nobody to remain in film history, “Jack Beauregard” pitted against the Wild Bunch.
Gentleman from the public: I must apologize because today’s meeting was not foreseen in my plans, so I find myself here with my little dog that I couldn’t leave at home, which explains the bark from earlier. I would like to ask if among all the characters you’ve portrayed, there’s one you’re more attached to?
Terence Hill: Yes, I’m very attached to “Trinity” and to “Nobody”. “Trinity” because his was a portrayal that came totally spontaneously, unconsciously. “Nobody” was instead a performance that was very studied. For the journalists here who are interested in cinema, I’d like to provide an example of what I mean. Sergio Leone wanted his films to be epic films. I had become something of a favourite of his, so he would take me to see his films when they were showing, and he told me that Charles Bronson’s character in Once Upon a Time in the West / There Was Once the West, was made to always enter the scene from right to left. He wanted to visually develop this hero in that way, to have him arrive at the climactic moment to confront the bad guy, in this case, Henry Fonda. In the final duel, you can see that as Henry Fonda is walking in a circle, the background is turning too. Leone said to me: “Do you know how I did that?” And I said: “No, I don’t know. How did you do that?” “I put him on a platform and made the platform turn together with the camera”. Then when Charles Bronson enters the scene to confront the bad guy, he has him enter from right to left, which he explained later to me the reason why, and I remember I jumped up in my seat because the music composed by Ennio Morricone had been developing throughout the whole movie, and when the crescendo came, he (ed. Bronson) entered the scene, and the emotions aroused were incredibly strong. Sergio Leone worked on the unconscious of the audience to achieve this effect. And for My Name is Nobody, he told me: “You know what I’m going to do with you? I’m going to have Nobody enter the scene from bottom to top.” That’s why the first time you see him he’s coming out of the water, which is actually a mythological reference. He created the emotional reactions in the audience, unconsciously, directing those emotions all the way to the climax of the story, in which by then the audience is clearly involved, continually playing with the strings of the archetypal characters. It’s also for those reasons that I’m attached to My Name is Nobody, As a character, “Nobody” is very spontaneous and very direct, but supporting him is much that is well thought out and studied.
Federica: Ciao! Have you ever considered making a sequel to My Name is Nobody, you could take the part of “Jack Beauregard”?
Terence Hill: Yes, Federica. Sergio Leone is no longer with us, but he did make a sequel that was very different. He hired actors who were representative of the characters they were to portray. Henry Fonda represented the old west so he paired him with what he wanted the character to communicate. I would like to make another western; I thought about that just the other day. Maybe I’m getting to the point of being “Jack Beauregard”, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I would like to make another western, of course one with a solid story, a beautiful story.
Fabio Melelli: Are there any more questions? By the way, you acted in another western produced by Sergio Leone, with Rafran, that was Damiano Damiani’s A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe, however it was aimed more towards comedy, wasn’t it?
Terence Hill: Here we are, this answer may satisfy the journalist who asked about My Name is Nobody. Tonino Valerii was a student of Sergio Leone. Damiano Damiani, however, was an independent auteur, so the films that he made, were not made following in the footsteps of Sergio, in that style, which I think was a mistake. Westerns have a certain style; they have to have a certain rhythm; they have to have certain shots and set-ups which can’t be improvised. But okay, I’m not going to say any more!