Frequently Asked Questions
Nine is based on the 1982 Broadway musical, with a book (the script and dialogue of a stage musical) by playwright Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by American composer Maury Yeston. The screenplay for Nine was written by screenwriters Anthony Minghella and Michael Tolkin. Kopit based his story on an Italian play by Mario Fratti and the movie 8½ (1963) (1963) by Italian film director Federico Fellini [1920-1993].
Nine is based on the film 8½, which stands for the number of movies that Federico Fellini had directed to that point. He had previously directed six full-length feature films: (1) Lo sceicco bianco (1952) (1952), (2) I vitelloni (1953) (1953), (3) La strada (1954) (1954), (4) Il bidone (1955) (1955, ) (5) Le notti di Cabiria (1957) (1957), and (6) La dolce vita (1960) (1960). He had collaborated with Alberto Lattuada to film Luci del varietà (1951) (1950) and directed two short segments: (1) "Un Agenzia Matrimoniale" from L'amore in città (1953) (1953) and (2) "Le Tentazioni del Dottor Antonio" from Boccaccio 70 (1962) (1962). These six full-length films, the three latter projects that he counted for ½ points each, plus this film added to 8½. Maury Yeston has stated that by adding music to the story, it was like adding an extra ½ to the story. The song "Nine" (excised from the film adaptation) adds further symbolism to the number and its relation to Guido and the story.
The role of Guido Contini was originated on stage by Raul Julia in the original 1982 Broadway production and can be heard on the original cast recording. Julia was replaced by Bert Convy and later Sergio Franchi played the part and closed the show. Antonio Banderas opened the 2003 Broadway revival (and also recorded the score for CD) in the role of Contini and was replaced by John Stamos, who played through to that production's closing. The Broadway Revival was transferred from The Donmar Warehouse, London, and starred Larry Lamb.Both Julia and Banderas were nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for their performances, but neither won. Jonathan Pryce also played Contini in a 1992 London concert which was recorded and is available on CD.
The music in Nine is a mixture of modern musical theatre and italian operatic styles. The music uses this mixture to help evoke the era and setting of the film.