Writer, producer and actor Frank Lotito grew up in the large Italo-Australian community in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir. For his first feature-length film, Big Mamma’s Boy, he’s chosen to write about what he knows, with a story of a 35-year-old man, Rocco (played by Lotito himself), who still lives at home with his overbearing Italian ‘Mamma’ (Carmelina di Guglielmo) – a situation which causes conflict when he falls in love with independent Aussie career girl, Katie (Holly Valance). “I didn’t have to do any research for the character of Rocco,” says Lotito in the film’s press notes.
“I think I knew him back to front. I wasn’t like that but there’s lots of friends and relatives who are…All right, I was a little bit like Rocco, just a little bit!”
Billed as a lighthearted romantic comedy about ‘life, love and lasagne’, Big Mamma’s Boy was set and shot in Reservoir, directed by Franco di Chiera and produced by Lotito and Matteo Bruno (the production company Lotito and Bruno share is named Valarc Films). The ensemble cast includes George Kapiniaris, Osvaldo Maione, Maria Venuti, Steve Mouzakis and Pia Miller, but it’s very much a project with Lotito at its heart.
With 15 years experience in the entertainment industry, Frank Lotito is no stranger to screen and stage, having performed in stage shows, movies, plays and television. His TV credits include Funky Squad, Neighbours, Stingers, Secret Life of Us, Blue Heelers and Thank God You’re Here. In 2004 Frank appeared in his first one-man comedy show, It’s all Italiano to Me, drawing on his own upbringing in suburbia in the 1970s and 80s. Frank has also worked behind the camera as writer and producer, working on projects like Ian Thorpe’s environmental documentary Fish out of Water, the reality TV show The Phone, with Justin Melvey, and Vancouver Dreams for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
Here are Frank Lotito’s answers to the AFI Quick Quiz.*
The AFI Quick Quiz:
Q. What is your favorite word? Yes.
Q. What is your least favourite word? No.
Q. What turns you on? Passionate People.
Q. What turns you off? Negative People.
Q. What sound or noise do you love? Laughter.
Q. What sound or noise do you hate? Silence.
Q. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Astronaut.
Q. What profession would you not like to do? Accountant.
Q. The last film or DVD you watched? Bridesmaids.
Q. The film that changed you and why? Reservoir Dogs. Quentin Tarantino was a guy passionate about films, who used to work in a video store and became a filmmaker without any training. I thought that if he could do it, so can I.
Q. Your guilty television pleasure? Mad Men. What I’d give to go back in time and live that life!
Q. Complete this sentence: The thing I love about working in the Australian film and television industry is… the hard working attitude of cast and crews.
Q. Three key mentors who’ve inspired or helped you?
- Santo Cilauro (Working Dog).
- Roberto Begnini.
- Martin Scorsese.
Big Mamma’s Boy is in national release from 28 July.
*The AFI Quick Quiz is a version of the Bernard Pivot Questionnaire. Bernard Pivot is a journalist, interviewer and host of French cultural television programs. He developed a list of questions based on Proust’s famous questionnaire. This then formed the basis of James Lipton’s questions to actors on American cable television program Inside the Actors Studio. Now the AFI has its own version. We hope you enjoy it!
Check out other Quick Quiz respondents. They’ve included:
Kestie Morassi | Melissa Bergland | Lincoln Younes | Maeve Dermody and Leon Ford