THE NAME OF THE ROSE (1986)
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Sean Connery ... William of Baskerville
F. Murray Abraham ... Bernardo Gui
Christian Slater ... Adso of Melk
Elya Baskin ...Severinus
Michael Lonsdale ... The Abbot
Volker Prechtel ... Malachia
Feodor Chaliapin Jr. ... Jorge de Burgos
William Hickey ... Ubertino da Casale
Michael Habeck ... Berenger
Urs Althaus ... Venantius
Valentina Vargas ... The Girl
Ron Perlman ... Salvatore
Leopoldo Trieste ... Michele da Cesena
Franco Valobra ... Jerome of Kaffa
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Hugh of Newcastle
Umberto Eco (novel). Andrew Birkin (screenplay)
Drama / Mystery / Thriller / Crime
Cinecittą, Rome, Lazio, Italy (studio)
Kloster Eberbach, Eltville Am Rhein, Hessen, Germany
Rome, Lazio, Italy
After a mysterious death in a Dominican Abbey, 1347, the monks are convinced that the apocalypse is coming. With the Abbey to play host to a council on the Franciscan's Order's belief that the Church should rid itself of wealth, William of Baskerville, a respected Franciscan monk, is asked to assist in determining the cause of the untimely death. Alas, more deaths occur as the investigation draws closer to uncovering the secret the Abbey wants hidden, and there is finally no stopping the Holy Inquisition from taking an active hand in the process. William and his young novice must race against time to prove the innocence of the unjustly accused, and avoid the wrath of Holy Inquisitor Bernardo Gui.
Summary written by Rick Munoz
Extract from Ron's interview with Shock Cinema Magazine, Issue 31.
SC: You got to work with Jean-Jacques Annaud again a few years later in "The Name of the Rose." Did he call you in?
Perlman: No, I called him actually. It's one of the only times I've grovelled in my lifetime. I heard he was going to do "The Name of the Rose" so I made my way through the book and found this memorable, very abstract character [named Salvatore] who was almost impossible, a complete flight of fancy by the author [Umberto] Eco. I knew that finding this guy would be as engaging and challenging as "Quest for Fire," and that was a place I wanted to re-visit. I begged Jean-Jacques to consider me, but he had a guy who was like the elephant man: a dwarf, he had a head the size of two heads, with goiters in his voice. But then the guy died, and I was back in the running. However, the Italian government had put up a few million dollars and they demanded that an Italian actor should play Salvatore. Then they fired him because he was completely uncooperative. After a guy died and another guy got fired, I ultimately ended up with the prize.
SC: What was the greatest pleasure of playing that role?
Perlman: The greatest pleasure was finally being asked! (laughs) And then right behind that, Jean-Jacques said he wanted Salvatore talking every time he is onscreen. I said, "but he doesn't talk in the screenplay," and he said, "if I had written all the dialogue I wanted, I never would have gotten the money to make the movie." I said, "how do you propose I do that?" And he said, "that's your problem." Salvatore was the character who spoke six languages, but all at once. Since "The Name of the Rose" was a book that had been translated into 85 languages, I got the translations of all six languages he speaks, highlighted the places Eco had him speaking, and collated them down, and went eeny-meeny-miny-moe. This word will be in Latin, this word will be in Italian, this one German, English, French - and created a hodgepodge of language. Being charged with that kind of responsibility tickled me, and he was delighted with the result. There's also a lot to be said for walking on the set and looking into the eyes of 007.
SC: Sean Connery.
Perlman: Sean was in a really good mood on "The Name of the Rose." He had a great deal of respect for what Jean-Jacques was trying to do, and he enjoyed that picture. He took a liking to me because I had a voracious appetite to hearing old movie stories, and he's worked with Hitchcock, John Huston, and other greats. I'm a movie freak, so I ate it up.
ROSE: Talking about actors that are fun, you've also worked with Sean Connery, in 'Name of the Rose,' I understand that he also is sort of a goofy guy, Is that right?
PERLMAN: I don't know if goofy would apply to Sean, but he's a great raconteur. And you know when you have a guy who loves to tell stories, who's worked with the likes of John Huston and Alfred Hitchcock and you name it, who's done some of the most distinguished films in the last thirty years... I'm like a film buff, so anybody who's got stories to tell about the legends---I was his most devoted audience. He's a man's man, I mean he doesn't disappoint you, you think when you meet Sean, (doing impression) you think you're going to get a man's man, and he does not disappoint you. He's such a gifted actor as well.
ROSE: Bouncing off of him, that must be pretty amazing.
PERLMAN: Well, we had a couple of scenes that we were in together, but we had one that was basically one on one. He saw that I was sort of going in a comic direction with it, and all he wanted to do was be Abbott to my Costello. (Impression of Sean) "you know, if we do this, Ron, it could be very funny!" Like woe! Man, the guy wants to do cheap bits! That stokes me!
Extract from Ron's Q&A at Creation Con, New York, 1990.Q - What was it like working with Sean Connery?
A - It was a pleasure, a total pleasure. One gets an impression from watching him on screen that he's a man's man, that he's a great guy, and he has a wonderful sense of humor, and then when one meets him, it's even more than that. He's a man's man, he's a great guy, has a wonderful sense of humor, he comes down to the set everyday where we worked on this hillside about 20 kilometres outside of Rome and he walks down singing these great Elizabethan songs at the top of his lungs, quuoting Henry the 5th. I'd only had, I think, two scenes to do with him face to face. One of them was the graveyard scene, where I'm catching rats for my dinner, and all he wanted to do from the first day we met, which was months earlier, was get together and rehearse that scene. And I'm not a big fan of rehearsing, so I kept avoiding him. Finally, he cornered me one day and all the ideas he had were, like, right out of Abbott and Costello. This is perhaps one of the classiest guys on the screen and all he really wants to do is vaudeville. It was encouraging for all of us hams, but he was an incredible actor to work with and a larger-than-life guy and magnetic, magnetic actor.
In early November 1985, Ron received a phone-call at seven in the morning, offering him the role of Salvatore in The Name of the Rose on one condition - he had to be on the plane to Frankfurt at three pm the same day. He caught the plane.
Ron had previously worked with the distinguished stage actor F. Murray Abraham in the production of Teibele and her Demon on Broadway in 1979.
Michael Caine was the first choice to play William of Baskerville.
Christian Slater was only 15 years old when he did his nude scene in this film with actress Valentina Vargas who was 22 at the time. "The Girl" (Valentina Vargas) is the only female character in the film, and she does not speak.
Jean Jacques Annaud could not find an existing monastery to satisfy his vision for the film. The monastery in the film was a set built just for the movie.
Sean Connery's career was at such a low point when he read for the role that Columbia pictures refused to finance the film when director Jean Jacques Annaud cast him as William of Baskerville.
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