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  •   FALCON’S LAIR—Ballerini visits the old ruins of Valentino’s Home.

    Edoardo Ballerini Resurrects Valentino
    By Sherry Dodd
    Courier Staff Writer

          Edoardo Ballerini is a young man of many hats. Hot from the accolades at the Sundance Film Festival, for his starring turn and directorial debut of the 2003 short Good Night Valentino, Ballerini is now ready to tackle the Rudolph Valentino legend once again.
          He has written a well researched full length script, kind of a pre-quill to Good Night Valentino, about and titled, Valentino. It tells the story of the handsome silent screen star and his second wife, the beautiful and ambitious Natacha Rambova who was, perhaps, Valentino’s ruin.
          “My grandfather had died, like Valentino, at the age of 31, and we only have a couple of photographs of him left. One showed him in a suit and tie, hair slicked back, a 3/4 pose, and I thought he looked like a silent era movie star. My father was convinced I looked like his father, though I didn’t see it at first. When I mentioned I thought my grandfather looked like a silent star, my father told me a lot of people said he resembl Valentino”.
          Ballerini began reading about the star. “I couldn’t believe such a huge figure was so largely forgotten. His story was incredible. The journey to Hollywood, the struggles, the fame, his marriage, the fights with Hollywood and the death. Stunning material”.
          Good Night Valentino, was released through Mineralava, Ballerini’s Beverly Hills based production company. The story is taken from an essay by H.L. Mencken and tells of an encounter between Valentino and the writer that took place in 1926. “The picture came out quite nicely, premiered at Sundance and was later purchased by the Sundance Channel.
          “I was very pleased, but it didn’t satisfy my desire to tell the bigger Valentino story—the one about the matinee idol who caused near riots every time he appeared in public but struggled desperately to make his marriage work. Such a terrible irony. So I began writing the feature”.
          Ballerini’s script tells the story succinctly. “Writing a bio-pic is as much an editorial effort as it is a creative one. I finally whittled it down to selected events that represented the bigger story and it started to take shape. Most importantly, I understood you have to add a creative layer to the top of that—the one that brings the characters alive and makes them real and accessible”.
          There is studio interest in the script and with the right director the fascinating tale will be told, hopefully, with Ballerini himself in the title role as the ill-fated Valentino.
          Born in Los Angeles, Ballerini spent much time growing up in his father’s native Italy and has dual citizenship. He speaks fluent Italian, is a graduate of Wesleyan University.
          No newcomer to films, Ballerini has been named “a young actor to watch”, by Daily Variety and “a Heartthrob”, by The Hollywood Reporter with features ready for release this year including: A Year And A Day; Freezerburn; The F Word; El Cortez and Three For The Devil. He has been a stand out in many movies including Dinner Rush; Romeo Must Die; The Pest; Malevolent; Looking For An Echo and guest-starred on TV shows NYPD Blue; Law & Order; Charmed and 24. He has written the foreword to Allen Ellenberger’s newbook The Valentino Mystique.
          Good Night Valentino is permanently archived at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Science and been released on dvd in Shorts Volume 2.
          Valentino, who was known as the “worlds greatest lover”, was born in Italy on May 6, 1895 and died at the height of his career, on August 23, 1926, from peritonitis caused by a bleeding ulcer. There is still an annual memorial service at his final resting place, Hollywood Forever Cemetery on the date of his death.
          Sadly, Valentino’s Beverly Hills home, Falcon’s Lair, has recently been torn down after the death of its late owner, Doris Duke.
          For information on Ballerini and his new script Valentino, visit: www.edoardoballerini.com or phone Mineralava Productions at 323 761-6405.

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