Click to blow up image From "Blow-Up": A blow-up image of... what?
“Until the film is edited, I have no idea myself what it will be about. And perhaps not even then. Perhaps the film will only be a mood, or a statement about a style of life. Perhaps it has no plot at all, in the way you use the word. I depart from the script constantly. I may film scenes I had no intention of filming; thing suggest themselves on location, and we improvise. I try not to think about it too much. Then, in the cutting room, I take the film and start to put it together, and only then do I begin to get an idea of what it is about." -- Michelangelo Antonioni to Roger Ebert in 1969
I can think of no better tribute to the late Michelangelo Antonioni than this 1999 letter to Ebert: A friend recently sent me your column in the Nov. 8, 1998 Denver Post about the movie "Blow-Up." As I actually played the blow-up in that fine movie, I thought you might enjoy knowing the behind-the-scenes story of how the film was made (or not made, in fact). Your column proclaims it to be a great film, and I am not trying to discret that opinion. But it is nonetheless an unfinished work, and it raises the fascinating question of how much of the "art" of a final film is intentional -- or accidental.
My name is Ronan O'Casey, and I played Venessa Redgrave's gray-haired lover in the film. The screenplay, by Antonioni ("just call me Michelangelo"), Tonio Guerra, and Edward Bond, told the story of a planned murder. But the scenes depicting the planning of the murder and its aftermath -- scenes with Vanessa, Sarah Miles and Jeremy Glover, Vanessa's new young lover who plots with her to murder me -- were never shot because the film went seriously over budget.
The intended story was as follows...
For years the debate has raged about the dead body that was, or wasn't, in the park in "Blow-Up." This letter seems to suggest a solution. -- Roger Ebert