Aurelio de Laurentiis spoke to ScreenDaily in Rome following the death of his uncle Dino on Wednesday  in Los Angeles.
Italian film producer Dino de Laurentiis was able to live “many different lives” through his passion for film, according to his nephew and fellow producer Aurelio de Laurentiis.
Speaking to ScreenDaily following the death of his uncle in Los Angeles on Wednesday (November 10), he said his first life had been during the post-war cinema boom in Italy.
“The 40s, 50s and 60s were times of post-war reconstruction; there was no competition from television. Cinema was a great magnet and the absolute protagonist.
He was making films with great directors like [Federico] Fellini which won Oscars. At the same time, he began to experience the flavour of America by working with Kirk Douglas, Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda and directors like John Huston. From there, he started to nurture a great love for the US.”
During the 1960s, he went on to build studio complex, Dinocitta, which helped to attract Hollywood stars such as Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to the county. “It was the golden moment of Italian cinema.”
However, when Italy introduced a law to limit the use of the English language and foreign actors, De Laurentiis “began to fall out of love” with his home country, and move on to his second life in the US. During this time he worked discovered important actors such as Al Pacino, [Arnold] Schwarzenegger, and Jessica Lange.
Aurelio de Laurentiis, who produces through his company, Filmauro, said his uncle took his love of Neapolitan food and coffee to the US; inviting many Hollywood figures to his spaghetti breakfasts, where he would discuss contracts and business with important directors and actors.
De Laurentiis, who is also president of Naples Football Club, recalls going on the set of Ulysses, starring Kirk Douglas, and seeing an entire wall removed to accommodate a boat used in the film. “One half of the boat was outside and the other inside. That was the great fantasy of the 1950s – to not stop at anything.”
He also remembers “with fascination” how the zoo was constructed for John Houston’s The Bible.
De Laurentiis believes it was better that they always worked separately so they could give each other advice. “The most beautiful thing between us was we didn’t work together but we always talked about our projects. Each of us respected each other’s ideas.
“Only when I began to be interested in football and bought the Naples team did he start urging me – “Buy this, buy that!” He was an enthusiast of everything. With him everything was possible and he made me laugh. He was everyone’s “grande maestro.”