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...