When it also arrived on our streams Call my agent! (or, if you prefer the original, Ten percent) we pointed at the screen, like Leonardo DiCaprio does in Once upon a time in… Hollywoodand said: but this is the Boris French! Set in the world of cinema instead of that of television, more elegant, but no less bad, the series tells the daily events in one of the most important Parisian film talent agencies. The success was so great and so international that several countries bought the rights to the show created by Fanny Herrero to make a remake of it. Between the Indian version (of which we are very curious) and the English one, the Italian one is now coming. There review by Call My Agent – Italia starts with an admission: the writer has seen (even several times) the original and loved it. And so he was ready at the door with the shotgun in his arms like his dad in Three men and a leg. Luckily there is only confetti to throw.
From January 20 on Sky and Streaming on NOW, Call My Agent – Italia does the smartest thing possible: follow the lesson of the original while adapting characters and situations to our country. The structure is exactly that of Call my agent!: the entertainment agency is no longer called SKA but CMA, like its founder, Claudio Maiorana. The protagonists are always a veteran of the world of agents, Elvira (Marzia Ubaldiin the original Arlette), the strategist Vittorio (Michael DiMauroItalian version of Mathias), the super roaring Lea (Sara Dragoor the equivalent of Andréa), and Gabriele (Maurice Lastrico, they didn’t even change his name), the piece of bread of the group. When the big boss decides not to come back and retires, it’s chaos for all of them: what to say to the customers? What to do with Claudio’s shares?
As done by Ludovico Bessegato with Shame on Italyuntil now perhaps the best television adaptation ever made, at least in recent years, Lisa Nur Sultan (currently one of our best screenwriters, her film On my skinthe Serie Circeo and the recent drink you), with an operation worthy of the best alchemist, has managed to remain faithful to the starting material, however changing it where necessary to make it more ours. Since we mentioned Boris, made it, as Stanis La Rochelle would say, “very Italian”. But not in a bad way. On the contrary.
Call My Agent – Italy: a perfect (and very funny) remake
Not only: Call My Agent – Italia, in addition to being more similar to us, also takes into account the years that have passed since the release of the original, now dated 2015. The big boss here doesn’t die suddenly, but decides to change his life, because he’s fed up with Zoom and the count of followers. There is talk of “major resignations”, which we have all witnessed since the pandemic. “In a world where Bali exists why should I die in Prati?“, he says. On the one hand he’s right, even if it could be much worse for him, given that it’s one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Rome.
Call my agent!, the review: on Netflix the French answer to Boris
Another example: in the mother series the beautiful receptionist Sofia dreams of being an actress. And that’s why she got hired at SKA: she hopes that, sooner or later, some director notices her. The Italian Sofia (He says) on the other hand, he really doesn’t think about acting: in our country there are no roles for black actresses. And if there are almost always they are from prostitutes or waitresses. Gabriele has to beg her to come to an audition, because, suddenly, even Italy has realized that there is a need for black actors. A change that makes the differences between the French and Italian film industries very clear.
The rest is done by mopeds and coffee with a mocha: two things that are not stereotypes, but which immediately give the idea of Italian everyday life. And above all the language: French comedy is different from ours, as is the way we curse. Where in the original the more elegant, even if vulgar, “merde” and “putain” are said, here with us there is the very Roman “li mortacci tua”, complete with a gesture to accompany it. Then there is Elvira’s little dog: in the original Jean Gabin, one of the greatest French actors, born in Paris. Here, in a series on cinema set in Rome, he could only have the name of Marcello Mastroianni.
Call My Agent – Italy: Paolo Sorrentino and all the guest stars
Needless to say, in addition to writing, the strength of Call My Agent – Italia lies in cast: as in the original, the real protagonists were chosen for the roles of the agents, very good actors but with faces less known to the general public, in order to create a difference between the fictional characters and the stars who play themselves. Marzia Ubaldi, with her magnificent voice, is the glue between all those who work at the CMA. Michele Di Mauro is very good, while Sara Drago and Maurizio Lastrico after this series we are sure that we will find them more and more often in other films and series. Honorable mention also for Francis Russowho plays the role of Pierpaolo, Gabriele’s assistant: he had already made himself known in A Classic Horror Storybut here he confirms that he is one of our best emerging talents.
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The real surprise, however, are the big names in the Italian cinemawho knowingly make fun of each other, even having fun. Paula Cortellesi she jokes about age like Cécile de France in the original, but she puts in her unmistakable candor, making it even more fun. Pierfrancesco Favino it’s the actor who gets trapped in his character, like Jean Dujardin and, let’s not exaggerate, he’s even better than the original: famous for his skill with accents, he tries his hand at a memorable comic version of Che Guevara. Stephen Accorsi instead it is our Isabelle Huppert: how she says yes to everything, only to go crazy when commitments overlap. Very good and very self-ironic, so much so that he coined a new meme: “from a new idea by Stefano Accorsi”. Another pearl of Call My Agent – Italia then it’s the couple Emmanuel Fanelli – Conrad Guzzanti: a joy to see them together.
The real masterpiece Call My Agent – Italia however, it is the second episode, the one with Paolo Sorrentino. Although many consider him perhaps a little obnoxious, Sorrentino has already demonstrated in the past that he has a great sense of humour. Right in Boris he played himself in comedic version. Here he falls back and this time he reaches unmissable peaks: the series is worth seeing even for this episode alone. Here we see him thinking about the third season of the series about the pope: The Lady Pope. We don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but the brainstorming you see is pure poetry. As well as the director’s monologue on the roof of the agency: a wonderful piece, so it’s impossible not to laugh heartily. Written by Sorrentino himself.
As Fanelli’s recurring character, one of the few not to play herself, says, Call My Agent – Italia it’s not a simple remake: it’s a “thoroughbred”. So all that remains is to wish her all the success, so that we can enjoy more episodes and seasons as fun as this one.
As written in the review of Call My Agent – Italiathe Sky series is, together with Shame on Italy, one of the best television remakes ever made. Lisa Nur Sultan in writing had the great intelligence to follow the original but making it much more similar to our country. The cast is exceptional: from all the actors who play the agents, the real protagonists, to the exceptional guest stars such as Paola Cortellesi and Piefrancesco Favino, who play an exaggerated and very self-deprecating version of themselves. Paolo Sorrentino, on the other hand, is the protagonist (and also somewhat of an author) of the unmissable episode, the second. After seeing it you will want it desperately too The Lady Pope.
Because we like it
- The intelligence of following the original but adapting it to the culture of our country.
- The writing of Lisa Nur Sultan.
- The bravura of chastity.
- The irony of stars like Paola Cortellesi and Pierfrancesco Favino, who play exaggerated versions of themselves.
- The episode with Paolo Sorrentino: a small masterpiece.
- Those who loved the original could turn up their noses at the many similarities and points of contact with the mother series.
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