Friday, February 08, 2013

Carla Gugino Hearts Miami

When Carla Gugino was just getting started making movies, she had the opportunity to come to Miami and make one I adore: 1995’s Miami Rhapsody. Today, the actress is back in the Magic City to talk about the movie during a reunion retrospective hosted by the Miami International Film Festival.

And I am missing it.


Ah, but I did not miss Gugino: We spoke on the phone earlier this week – :)! – about the comedy, which was the first effort as a director of one Mr. David Frankel, who went on to helm such crowd-pleasers as The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me.

The seminal project, decidedly indie with a budget of $6 million, wasn’t a big hit, but it has endured the test of time, IMHO, because of its charming insights into relationships, both familial and romantic, and because it featured a then-young cast of big-screen up-and-comers, like Gugino and Sarah Jessica Parker and Antonio Banderas and Jeremy Piven (and even Naomi Campbell), that worked together like gangbusters and captured a truly sizzling picture of Miami. If you miss the pre-behemoth days of the city, the movie is full of now-vintage shots of South Beach excitement and Coconut Grove fun.

To me, Miami Rhapsody paved the way for Sex and the City to happen. And just look at what that cast went on to do (did you catch Gugino going tête-à-tête with Sigourney Weaver on last summer’s Political Animals?).

Anyway, Miami Rhapsody centered on Parker’s Gwyn Marcus, a twentysomething Miamian rethinking everything she believes about functional relationships after she learns that her idolized parents don’t have the marriage she thought they that...and after she sees her sister (Gugino) rushing into a marriage that should have been better thought...and after she finds out that her brother (Kevin Pollak) is a scoundrel. Fearing that she, too, is genetically predisposed for romantic failure, Gwyn must reconsider everything in her life, including her engagement to her boyfriend (Ally McBeal’s Gil Bellows), in order to find a new balance in her life.

For Florida girl Gugino (she’s from Sarasota), the movie has a place all its own in her heart, too.

Miami Rhapsody was definitely very significant, very fun,” she said. “It was such a special time period. David [Frankel] made it great for us on set. I remember Jeremy and I arrived together and the first thing David told us to do was go to the beach and get a tan. There was such a celebratory mood in the air. Shooting on South Beach was so much fun.

Gugino also remembers the movie fondly because she got to play dress-up and play things real.

“I got to be married in the movie, which I don’t think has happened again in my career. But what I think made the movie so winning in my mind and that of people who come to me saying they love it, like you, is how it found humor in everyday things, like the mini-bar scene I had in the movie.

Gugino, SJP, and Piven will attend a special screening of Miami Rhapsody at the Tower Theater tonight, the after-party of which will be held at the Coral Gables Country Club.

It is probably all sold-out by now, but click here and try your luck. You know you want to: This kind of event is the epitome of Miami, just as the movie says: Hot and stormy, and occasionally a little dangerous. Yeah, awful, but then – what’s with all the traffic at the open bar.



No comments: