Massimo Troisi was so weak that it was only possible for him to work for about an hour each day. Most of his scenes were shot in one or two takes. A shooting schedule was designed to allow the film to be shot around him. This was aided greatly by the fact his stand-in bore such a striking resemblance to Troisi. He was used for all back to camera, long/medium shots and most of the bicycle riding sequences. Director Michael Radford has said that watching the film after it was cut together even he was unable to tell the difference between the two men.