London , November 16, 2006 – The eagerly awaited 2007 edition of the Pirelli Calendar will be presented tonight to the press, guests, and collectors from around the world at Battersea Evolution Park in London.
The stars of this edition are five of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and beloved actresses: Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts and daring newcomer Lou Doillon, photographed by the Dutch duo Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin in California.
The unique 2007 calendar marks a turning point: the glamour that characterized past editions is absent. There has been a return to the simplicity of the film sets, stories and photography of the early sixties (reminiscent of the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michelangelo Antonioni): the personality of the person prevails over the environment in a plain, unadorned setting.
Simple, spontaneous images portray five women. These profound, secret stories reveal the most private and hidden soul of the protagonists. The resolute and proud personalities of the actresses overwhelmingly emerge in the bareness of the environment. One bed, five protagonists, and five stories appear in a calendar that challenges fads, breaks with convention, and delves into the psyches of the women. Intellectual, psychological, and artistic are the adjectives that best describe this edition.
“We are in a room with just a bed and sheet. We wanted to make it as personal and intimate as possible, as if we were shooting pictures with friends,” said Inez. This completely new way of portraying the actresses sharply contrasts with the usual images of the five superstars appearing in the media – from the red carpet of film premieres to glossy glamour magazine photos and snapshots taken by the paparazzi.
The 2007 calendar is a powerful combination of simple, eclectic images that explore the female personality in depth. Inez, a great portraitist, immediately establishes a feeling with the stars and puts them at ease. From one woman to another, she tries to capture the hidden and most intense aspects of the protagonists. Thus, Penelope appears “sanguine and sensual”, Hilary is “a pure, sporty, natural American beauty”, Lou is “elegant and cool”, Naomi is “sleek and sophisticated, representing British perfection”, and Sophia Loren is “a superstar and legend”.
Twenty-six incredibly powerful black and white photographs are the result. The light, composition, and atmosphere of the simple, candid shots have everything one would expect from two great international photographers such as Inez and Vinoodh.
INEZ VAN LAMSWEERDE AND VINOODH MATADIN
The photography team composed of Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin has an apparently infinite ability to explore new visual territories. In the early nineties they were among the first to demonstrate the potential of digital technology as an important creative medium. They developed their hallmark style – a combination of visual seduction and provocative stories — that introduced new concepts to fashion photography.
Since the early nineties they have done revolutionary spreads for Vogue America , France and Italy ; V Magazine; Visionaire; The New York Times Magazine; and W Magazine. Their innovative approach can also be seen in advertising campaigns for Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Yohji Yamamoto, Chloe, Dior Homme, Miu Miu and Estee Lauder.
Besides their work in the fashion industry, van Lamsweerde and Matadin create photos that have been applauded in the world of contemporary art. They are represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery of New York where they showed The Now People Part Two Life on Earth (2005), The Now People Part One: Paradise (2003/4), ME (1999) and The Widow (1997). Their work has also appeared in international museums and art galleries, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam , the Hayward Gallery in London , and the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art in New York .
Oscar winner Sophia Loren is one of the most famous Italian actresses of all time. She was born and raised in the town of Pozzuoli , in the province of Naples , where she lived until the end of World War II.
At age 14 she took part in her first beauty contest in Naples , where she won one of the 12 titles. Shortly after, Sophia’s mother enrolled her in acting school, and Sophia worked as an extra in Mervyn LeRoy’s films Quo Vadis, Hearts at Sea, The Ballot, The Six Wives of Barbablu, and I Am the Captain.
One evening Sophia went with friends to a nightclub where the Miss Rome beauty contest was being held. She was noticed by one of the judges, the famous film producer Carlo Ponti, who encouraged her to participate. Sophia came in second but, even more importantly, she won a film test with Ponti, which did not result in a contract, however.
Sophia played a feature role in Africa under the Seas. The film was not instrumental to her career, but the turning point came with a film version of the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi. When the leading actress dropped out shortly after production began, Sophia stepped in and did a stunning job that earned her the applause of the critics and a one-year contract with Carlo Ponti.
Afterwards, the famous director/actor Vittorio de Sica asked Sophia to play the part of a Neapolitan pizza-maker in The Gold of Naples. De Sica recognized Sophia’s love of acting, originality, and explosive passion and decided to help the young actress, which allowed her to cap the role of Nives Mongolini in The River Girl. She also starred in Too Bad She’s Bad, The Miller’s Beautiful Wife, Neapolitan Carousel, and Lucky to Be a Woman.
While filming Lucky to Be a Woman, Sophia started studying with linguist Sarah Spain to prepare herself for roles in English. She could not have chosen a better moment for lessons because American producer/director Stanley Kramer wanted Sophia for the leading role in the costume film The Pride and the Passion that also starred Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra.
Sophia accepted Kramer’s offer of 200,000 dollars and filmed The Pride and the Passion with Sinatra and Grant, which opened the doors for other films in English such as Boy on a Dolphin with Alan Ladd.
In 1957 Sophia filmed Legend of the Lost with John Wayne. In the same year she signed a contract with Columbia for four more films, including Houseboat, once again with Cary Grant. After Houseboat, she starred in several successful films, including The Key with William Holden and Trevor Howard; It Started in Naples with Clark Gable and De Sica; The Millionairess with Peter Sellers; and Black Orchid and Heller in Pink Tights, both with Anthony Quinn as her leading man.
In 1960 Sophia participated in the Venice Film Festival, where she received the Volpi Cup as the Best Actress for Black Orchid. Her next film was Two Women, the story of a mother and daughter who survived World War II. During the filming, the actress relived memories of that war but now saw it through the eyes of the mother.
Sophia was thrilled when she learned she won the Oscar for Best Actress. She beat actresses of the caliber of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Piper Laurie in The Hustler, Geraldine Page in Summer and Smoke, and Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass. Sophia was the first actress ever to win the Best Actress award for a foreign film.
Sophia wrote several books, including Sophia: Living and Loving; Her Own Story; Women and Beauty; Eat with Me; and Ricordi e ricette.
The magical chemistry with De Sica and Mastroianni, her favorite film partner, continued to produce hits such as: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; Marriage – Italian Style; The Priest’s Wife, Oopsie Poopsie; Friday or another day; and Prêt-à-porter. Some of Sophia’s favorite co-stars were Anthony Perkins ( Desire Under the Elms ), Robert Wagner ( The Condemned of Altona ), Paul Newman and David Niven ( Lady L ), Gregory Peck ( Arabesque ), Marlon Brando ( A Countess from Hong Kong ), Peter O’Toole ( The Man of La Mancha ), Richard Burton ( The Voyage and Brief Encounter ), Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner ( Cassandra Crossing ), and Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau ( Grumpier Old Men ).
Today Sophia Loren is one of the most loved and phenomenal actresses of history. She has made over 100 films in her 50-year career. She received the Oscar for Lifetime Achievements and has been defined by People Magazine as “one of the world’s most stunning and age resistant women”. She was recently proclaimed “The world’s most beautiful woman” by Time Magazine.
Hilary Swank is the third-youngest woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress twice. Besides her Oscar for her portrayal of “Brandon Teena” in Boys Don’t Cry, Hilary won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress in a Drama” and the Best Actress awards from the New York Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. She also won the “Breakthrough Performance” award of the National Board of Review.
Hilary subsequently appeared in supporting roles with Cate Blanchett and Keanu Reeves in The Gift directed by Sam Raimi and with Al Pacino and Robin Williams in Insomnia directed by Christopher Nolan. She capped the leading role of Alice Paul in Iron Jawed Angels for HBO, which tells the story of the suffragette movement: her performance in this film won her SAG and Golden Globe nominations.
Recently, Hilary starred with Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby, directed by Eastwood, the story of a girl who tries to make her dream of becoming a professional boxer come true. For this film she won her second Oscar as Best Actress and she also won other awards such as Best Actress from the National Society of Film Critics, the Screen Actors Guild, the Broadcast Film Critics, and a Golden Globe for the “Best Actress in a Drama”.
Hillary played a supporting role in Black Dahlia directed by Brian De Palma, with Scarlett Johansson and Josh Hartnett, and will star in The Reaping for Warner Brothers. She recently made her debut as a producer with Freedom Writers, the true story of Long Beach teacher Erin Gruwell.
In fall, she will work again with Richard LaGravenese, the screenwriter/director of her Freedom Writers, to portray the protagonist in the film version of Cecelia Ahern’s book P.S. I Love You.
Penelope Cruz Sanchez was born in Madrid in the mid-seventies. Dancing captured her imagination and dominated her life since she was a child, and she studied classical ballet at the National Spanish Conservatory for 9 years. After Penelope left high school at 15 years of age, she beat 300 competitors in an agency audition and started working part-time as a model. National fame arrived at 16 when she was chosen to present Spanish television programs.
Since the beginning of her career, Penelope has starred in many important films, but it was her role in the 2001 film with Nicolas Cage, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, that helped her become one of the world’s most famous actresses. In the same year she co-starred with Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky, the Hollywood remake of Abre Los Ojos, in which the actress interpreted the same character. Vanilla Sky would drastically change Penelope’s life. The film made 100 million dollars at the box office, which launched her to stardom in Hollywood , and it also marked the start of her relationship with Tom Cruise.
In 2003 she played a mentally disturbed woman in Gothika, with Halle Berry , and in 2005 she co-starred with Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey in Sahara.
Penelope Cruz has always been actively involved in charity work. She once donated her entire earnings for a film to Mother Teresa’s orphanage, and she also did volunteer work for two months in Uganda .
Born in England but raised in Australia , Naomi Watts has been in the movie business for 15 years. After moving to Hollywood , her big break arrived in 2001 when she got a part in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Her extraordinary performance was critically acclaimed and she received several awards that attracted the attention of major producers in Hollywood and abroad.
Naomi finally reached stardom in 2002 when she won the role of the investigative reporter in The Ring, which made 100 million dollars at the box office. She starred in the sequel, The Ring 2, and in 2005 she played Anne Darrow in one of the biggest remakes of our time, King Kong. The role immortalized by Faye Wray in the original film would turn out to be Watts ‘ most commercial part to date. Directed by Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord of the Rings, the film was critically acclaimed and made over 400 million dollars worldwide.
Naomi’s beauty and sex appeal are irresistible. In 2002 People magazine included her in their “50 most beautiful women” list, and she was also voted one of the 15 sexiest actresses by the Australian Empire Magazine, on whose cover she appeared in March 2003.
Lou Doillon was born in 1982 to a “show biz” family: her mother is actress and singer Jane Birkin. At a very early age, she realized that her family’s profession was an inescapable destiny.
Doillon made her film debut at five as Jane Birkin’s on-screen daughter in a romantic drama entitled Kung fu master, but her first starring role arrived in 1997 when she played the rebellious adolescent in the film Trop peu d’amour, directed by her father.
At 16, she began an unexpected career as a model for Eres, Missoni and Givenchy and for the “Eau Torride” perfume, and she appears in the current Miu Miu advertising campaign.
Lou has often played tempestuous, volcanic roles such as Blanche, a romantic and sexy costume film from 2002. She next appeared with Charlotte Rampling, who played her mother, in Summer Things. In 2003, she was Miss Pepys, co-starring with Steve Coogan for the BBC, and she appeared in Saint Ange, her first French-American horror flick, with Virginie Ledoyen.
In 2006 Lou just finished a film written and directed by Douglas Buck, co-starring Chloé Sévigny and Stephen Rea. “Sisters” is the remake of “The Two Sisters”, directed by Brian de Palma in 1973. She will soon appear in Boxes, the story of a family, directed by her mother Jane Birkin and starring Geraldine Chaplin, John Hurt, and Natacha Régnier.