A host of Italian actors have been making headway in large international productions recently. Giovanna Mezzogiorno (The Last Kiss, Facing Windows) stars alongside Javier Bardem in the upcoming adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love In The Time Of Cholera; Pierfrancesco Favino (Crime Novel) played Christopher Columbus in Night At The Museum; while Claudio Santamaria (The Last Kiss, Crime Novel) and Caterina Murino both appeared in Casino Royale.

'I think we have a generation of very good actors and they all speak English and that helps,' says producer Marco Chimenz of Cattleya. However, Chimenz says that actors often attract audiences best when used as an ensemble. No Italian stars can open a movie: Monica Bellucci may guarantee broad exposure in Italy, but opening a film on Bellucci's name alone is another matter entirely.

Local Italian comedies seem to be an exception. Comics like trio Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo or Roberto Benigni are reliable brands.

Comedians aside, Chimenz points to two young serious actors capable of carrying a film alone in Italy. Those are Silvio Muccino (brother to The Pursuit Of Happyness director Gabriele) and Riccardo Scamarcio. Muccino's My Best Enemy scored $5.2m (EUR4m) last year, while Scamarcio's Manuale D'Amore 2 has already earned $16.9m (EUR13m) this year.