Continuing with the article written by Ruggero Deodato for Nocturno magazine about his experiences working in the Philippines while making The Atlantis Interceptors. Here’s the first part.
Pretty soon I was stressed by two weeks of useless meetings, unsuitable inspections, by then traffic and smog of Manila and of carrying out auditions of pseudo actors who presented me with passport photos or photos of themselves in carnival masks. I asked repeatedly to see the Queen, but in vain, I was always told that she was travelling. The only positive note was a visit to a campus of well organised acrobats, using real obstacles, who were able to leap from tree to tree, gave a motocross exhibition including stunt falls at speed and ended up with some prefabricated houses that they’d climb up and then toss themselves back to the ground. In short the realities of true cinema. Apart from that though there was nothing concrete and my nerves were jumpy. Fifteen days after my arrival and following an outburst from the Roman producer who blamed me for the inefficiencies, I arrived in the office and raged against all the personnel on each floor of the ministry, called the driver and asked him to take me to the airport to go back to Rome. While I was preparing my bags I was called down to reception. A car was waiting for me back at the office. The queen Imelda wanted to meet me.
So I went to a conference table where I was received by about twenty executives and an attendant with the seat at the head of the table ready to accommodate me. Next to mine there was another empty seat. I managed to sit down just in time when all the others stood up in unison. The Queen came in, sat by my side and said to me in perfect Italian: “I have groomed them well for my use. I’m sorry for the long wait, but from tomorrow all the officials will work much better.” People who had already worked on other films were hired instead of the incompetent ministry officials and everything went perfectly. I never saw Queen Imelda again. I shot I predatori di Atlantide at Eden Valley, where I had a villa reserved for me which had been used by Francis Ford Coppola at the time of Apocalypse Noe. So for this wrangle of Amati’s (a great producer who I always held in esteem) I’d been sent on ahead with nothing in hand. And my anger was what got the film made.