As any viewer of 8 1/2 can attest, Federico Fellini thrived on turning self-indulgent fantasy into cinematic genius.
Now the Italian director will embark on one last trip. Just as Stanley Kubrick’s A.I. was realized posthumously by Steven Spielberg, Fellini’s never-filmed project Journey to Tulum is being revived by producers Michel Shane and Anthony Romano (I, Robot), who stumbled upon it during a visit to Italy.
Before he died in 1993, Fellini teamed with frequent collaborator Tullio Pinelli on a long outline for Tulum, a movie based on his trippy 1980s visit to Mexico, where bizarre, paranormal events supposedly occurred as he researched the magical lore of the Aztecs. Shane is hoping to attract backing for the movie, which will be in English, from an indie company; Marco Bartoloccioni — who helped rediscover the outline a few years ago — is directing. ”It’ll be completely far-out, but it won’t be an art-house ride,” Shane says. ”I think we’ll do it as an homage to Fellini in the Fellini style, but accessibly.”
So why didn’t Fellini ever make the movie himself? ”Rumor has it,” says Shane, ”that shamans at the time contacted him and told him that he shouldn’t do it because bad things would befall him.” Hmm, perhaps reviving Tulum doesn’t seem like such a good call. ”Am I worried at all?” Shane laughs. ”No one’s told me not to make the movie.”