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Old 08-14-2011, 09:44 PM   #16
thebabymysweet
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SCOTT BAIO SURPRISES IN "THE BREAD, MY SWEET"
by Colin Covert
(The Star Tribune: November 27, 2002)

Scott Baio movie star? Yes, Scott Baio from "Happy Days", "Joanie Loves Chachi" and "Charles-In-Charge".
Hold the snickers, please, and see "THE BREAD, MY SWEET", a micro-budgeted indie romance
that is receiving national distribution thanks to the sleeper success of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

While it should appeal to the folks who have pushed Nia Vardalos' family farce
past the $ 200 million mark, "THE BREAD, MY SWEET" is the better film of the two by a long shot.
It's also a sweet ethnic romance but warmer and more poignant without the cardboard stereotypes and too broad humor.

Baio, now a handsome 40 year old, plays Dominic, a workaholic corporate takeover artist.
Cleaning out "dead wood" employees is lucrative but not fulfilling for the soul.
For that he turns to his hobby job: running a Pittsburgh biscotti bakery
staffed by his brothers, an incorrigible skirt chaser and a slow-witted pastry savant.

The shop, a haven of intoxicating smells and humane warmth, seduces him
and he astonishes his colleagues by quitting the world of high finance to work there full-time.

There's another appeal to the bakery: the elderly Italian couple who live one floor up.
Dominic is enchanted by Bella (soap opera veteran Rosemary Prinz),
a warm maternal type who treats the brothers like her sons.
Bella's greatest regret is that her daughter Lucca, a Peace Corps vagabond,
hasn't settled down to start a family of her own.

For reasons that can't be revealed here, Dom contacts Lucca (Kristin Minter of "ER")
and uses his corporate deal making savvy to convince her to answer Bella's prayers.
In a benevolent deception, they will marry so Bella's worries can be put to rest.

The idea is a hokey comic contrivance but the film, directed and written by
Pittsburgh playwright Melissa Martin, treats the details of the agreement with full seriousness.
It never takes easy shortcuts on the way to its touching conclusion.
Dominic's transformation from corporate shark to a good, big-hearted man
- "a piece of bread" in Italian slang - is unforced and entirely credible.

"THE BREAD, MY SWEET" is a warm and satisfying treat.
Anyone who can resist its charms is a crusty character indeed.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:13 PM   #17
thebabymysweet
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DIRECTOR'S NOTES 1 :
Melissa Martin (director/writer) talks about the making of
THE BREAD, MY SWEET (a.k.a. A WEDDING FOR BELLA):

"Four years ago, my friend Gemma died.
She was a little energy burst who had emigrated from Italy
and then lived for forty years in the same three rooms over
my husband's bakery in Pittsburgh which he started
while working in the corporate rat race.
Gemma never learned to drive a car. She spoke broken English.
I don't know if she even completed high school.
But she touched so many lives that when she died,
her funeral procession was four or five miles long
and closed down one of Pittsburgh's main thoroughfares.

It was one of those rare appropriate events.
She had friends who were ditch diggers and congressmen, plumbers and neurosurgeons.
And all of them turned out in force to honor her.
THE BREAD, MY SWEET is a monument to her.
And because with her passing, I was losing my link to it.
I wanted to capture this part of America that most people never see.
They think they know it. They think they've seen it. The Italian thing.

The Italians in THE BREAD, MY SWEET speak broken English.
They make wine in the basement and sausages too.
They celebrate the feast of the seven fishes
and have faith in a contradictory, mysterious religion.
But they also send their children to college.

It's a part of America that's going away. It's dying.
When it's gone, it's gone. We lose collectively.
We're left with popular culture images of Italians who are
uneducated, predictably violent or vulgar, and swaggering mob members.

I wanted to remember that other Italian-American world. On film."

Last edited by thebabymysweet : 12-15-2011 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:40 PM   #18
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DIRECTOR'S NOTES 2 :
Melissa Martin (director/writer) talks about the making of
THE BREAD, MY SWEET (a.k.a. A WEDDING FOR BELLA):

"Then we cast. I had imagined SCOTT BAIO in the role of DOMINIC so we sent a script and miraculously he called.
And then the New York theatre/movie contingent appeared on the casting agent's video - Rosemary Prinz, Shuler Hensley and John Seitz.
And then it was two weeks before we were to shoot and Adrienne had three cell phones but we still had no Lucca.
Then Kristen Minter appeared late one night when I was scouring reels for that perfect girlie.

There was only the little problem that I had never made a film.
I had worked for years in theatre but really didn't know the business end of a camera.
Not the business end of film (which I didn't know either).
I didn't know which end of the camera to look through.

So I'm in Toronto touring a theatre piece with Adrienne Wehr, whom I had vaguely known for some years.
And I recognized in her an amazing work ethic. She is an empathetic, giving, control freak, maniac.
She had produced the Emmy Award winning 'Mr. Roger's Neighborhood' for many years.
Clearly I needed her. Begging didn't work. She said that she was finished with producing.
I didn't have money, I wrote a role for her (she's also an actress).
She read the script and thankfully agreed to join in as producer.
Together we tricked Bill Hulley, our venture capitalist and executive producer into joining
the dog and pony show that would become our fund raising campaign. The fund raising nearly killed us all.

And then we turned on the camera. We had no trailers. It was hot as hell.
And we were shooting summer for winter in 23 days. It should have been a nightmare.
But at the end of that first day of principal photography, we were all quietly awed by the actors' work.
Then we drank beer and threw food at one another (mostly cashews) and became
the group of gaseous fifth grade morons that we would be for the rest of the shoot.
These actors are lovely people and we had a remarkable, precious time together.
We had fun. And we made the movie we all had imagined."
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:29 PM   #19
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"BAIO SAVORS THE BREAD'S LEAD ROLE"
by Ron Weiskind, Post Gazette Movie Editor
( The Pittsburgh Post Gazette : November 1, 2001 )

"THE BREAD, MY SWEET" is a low-budget movie by a first-time director from Pittsburgh
who shot most of it in a Strip District bakery owned by her husband.
So how did the filmmaker, Melissa Martin, convince SCOTT BAIO
(TV's "Happy Days" and "Charles in Charge") to take the lead role?

"I've always wanted to learn to bake bread from scratch,"
BAIO says on the phone from Palm Springs, California.
"So I asked her if I could specifically learn how to bake bread.
And she said, 'Yeah.' I just thought this will be really cool.
There's something very earthy about doing all that.
I'm not a spiritual guy but I just thought it would be fun
to just start kneading dough and throwing flour around
and pounding it with a rolling pin. And now, I bake bread at home."

But he also sensed that Martin had cooked up something good with her screenplay.
Pittsburgh finds out when "THE BREAD, MY SWEET" opens the annual Three Rivers Film Festival at the Regent Square Theater.

The script came to BAIO through his agent who told the actor he probably wouldn't want to do it.

"What really got me into this was Melissa," BAIO says.
"I called her on the phone and started talking to her.
I just immediately liked her. I thought, well, this will be kind of fun.
She told me what she wanted to do and how raw she wanted to make it."

BAIO plays a corporate shark who discovers a different kind of world when he meets an immigrant couple
and finds himself moved to fulfill their last wish, even at the cost of his own success.
Kristin Minter of "ER" also stars along with Rosemary Prinz, John Seitz and numerous Pittsburgh actors.

He calls his character a simple guy who "realizes he doesn't want to be sucked into that corporate world.
He just wants to bake. There's something really kind of sweet about that.
I think he's good at two things. He's good at baking and he's good at firing people,
which is what his job in the corporate world is."

SCOTT BAIO calls "THE BREAD, MY SWEET" filmed in the summer of 2000 one of the best working experiences he's had.

"We instantaneously hit it off with everybody," he says. "It was like play. I mean that sincerely.
This was fun. Walking around Pittsburgh was wonderful. The people were nice.
I'm an Italian East Coast guy. So I immediately bonded with a lot of Italian people down there in the Strip."

Last edited by thebabymysweet : 11-28-2012 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:08 PM   #20
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HOMEMADE IN THE 'BURG, "THE BREAD, MY SWEET"
OFFERS LOVE, WARMTH AND BISCOTTI DREAMS
( Part 1 ) by Jolie Williamson
TRIBUNE REVIEW: January 18, 2002

Listening to Melissa Martin describe the making of "THE BREAD, MY SWEET"
is a little like listening to an older sister spill all the details of her first month in college.

She's making good grades and earning accolades in her chosen field, there's no doubt.
But you wonder how she managed all that after she lets fly with tales of
the odd and endearing characters who've become her new best friends,
all the times she's pulled all-nighters and, oh yeah, the requisite food fights.

"I had the most amazing group of actors and crew any first-time director ever had,"
Martin says. "I am so happy to be me."

Martin, of Mt. Lebanon, is best known in Pittsburgh as a writer and director of plays.
"THE BREAD, MY SWEET" is her first foray into filmmaking - one she leapt into
despite "not knowing which end of the camera to look through".

Her decision to make the transition from stage to screen directing was
the result of her friendship with an Italian immigrant named Gemma who died four years ago.
Gemma lived above Enrico Biscotti, the Strip Distric bakery and cafe owned by Martin's husband,
Larry Lagattuta.

"She was the inspiration for this story," Martin says.
"Now, none of this story is true, nothing in this actually happened,
but when she died, I wanted to celebrate that Italian-American culture that's disappearing."

The story centers on an elderly Italian couple, Massimo (John Setz) and Bella (Rosemary Prinz),
and the three brothers who run the bakery below their apartment -
DOMINIC (SCOTT BAIO), Eddie (Pittsburgh native Billy Mott) and Pino (Shuler Hensley).
When Dominic finds out Bella's dying, he sets out to find and marry her daughter Lucca (Kristin Minter)
to fulfill Bella's wish to see her daughter's American wedding.
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:43 PM   #21
thebabymysweet
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HOMEMADE IN THE 'BURG, "THE BREAD, MY SWEET"
OFFERS LOVE, WARMTH AND BISCOTTI DREAMS
( Part 2 ) by Jolie Williamson
TRIBUNE REVIEW : January 18, 2002

Once Melissa Martin decided she was making the movie, she needed a producer, cast and crew.
She says that she begged Adrienne Wehr "whom I had vaguely known for some years" to produce it,
although the Pittsburgher and producer of "Mister Roger's Neighborhood" had sworn off
that part of the creative life.

She also took her pleadings to Pittsburgh cinematographer Mark Knobil
who has filmed documentaries for PBS, National Geographic and Discovery Channel.
"He immediately made 10 phone calls to make sure I wasn't deranged," Martin says.

They both ultimately agreed.

"She really didn't have to beg me," Wehr says. "She even wrote me a small part
but that's not why I decided to produce it. I liked the script."

Getting SCOTT BAIO on board was nearly as seamless.

After reading the script and liking it, Baio says he made the decision to do the film
mostly because he liked Martin.

"I really didn't want to go to Pittsburgh for five weeks to shoot this, to be honest," he says.
"But I talked to Melissa and she was very honest and open. She said that she'd never done this before
but she explained what she was trying to do and I just liked it. And I liked her over the phone.
I just liked her as a person."
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