via Roberson PR: Sherilyn Fenn to play silent film legend Alla Nazimova in Silent Life, an upcoming fantasy biopic about Rudolph Valentino that also features Isabella Rossellini, Franco Nero and Terry Moore
Hollywood, CA (August 10, 2018) – Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actress Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart) will star as a silent film star and producer Alla Nazimova in director Vladislav Kozlov’s Rudolph Valentino fantasy biopic Silent Life. Paul Rodriguez and Dalton Cyr join the cast as an older gigolo (Rodriguez) who teaches young Italian immigrant Rodolfo Guglielmi (Cyr) how to seduce women. Also joining the cast are Paul Louis Harrell as Norman Kerry (Valentino’s real-life friend), and Ksenia Jarova, who will star as Natacha Rambova (the true love of Rudolph Valentino).
Sherilyn Fenn as Nazimova in Silent Life
An ode to the classic era of silent films and the world’s first male sex symbol, Silent Life also stars Isabella Rossellini as Valentino’s mother, Franco Nero as Rudolph Valentino’s spirit, Terry Moore as the Valentino’s mysterious mourning fan “Lady in Black”, and Director Vladislav Kozlov as Rudolph Valentino.
Fenn will portray silent film diva Madame Alla Nazimova, a Russian Jewish émigré from Crimea, during the years she was in Valentino’s orbit, from 1919 through his death in 1926. Nazimova was an extremely popular Broadway actress thanks to her fierce feminist image in the pacifist drama War Brides, before she moved to Hollywood to explore her talents in movie productions. A silent film star for Metro Pictures (which became MGM), Nazimova produced her own movies from 1917-1926 and was the first female actor to exercise control over her own image. One of her most famous works includes the 1921 Art Deco adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ Camille opposite Rudolph Valentino, and Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, her 1923 Art Nouveau masterpiece.
“Sherilyn as Nazimova is spellbinding. Sherilyn is a chameleon and when she put on the Nazimova wardrobe, costume, hair and makeup, she BECAME Nazimova,” said Kozlov.
“The character of Nazimova is crucial in telling Valentino’s life story. She played a huge part in his life, having introduced Valentino into Hollywood circles and launching the Hollywood careers of his future wife, Winifred Hudnut AKA Natacha Rambova,” added Kozlov.
According to Hollywood legend, Nazimova was the inspiration for Gloria Swanson’s character in the movie Sunset Boulevard.
Vladislav Kozlov as Rudolph Valentino in Silent Life
Silent Life resumed filming in July and continues through August in such famous Hollywood locations such as Valentino’s grave in the Cathedral Mausoleum at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Micele’s Italian Restaurant on Hollywood Blvd, and the private Rudolph Valentino museum in North Hollywood owned by Tracy Terhune (private collector and author of many books about Rudolph Valentino).
“Silent Life is a love letter to Old Hollywood and classic cinema. It is a movie within a movie, told through two narratives. One half is the present day story told by Valentino’s mysterious fan “Lady in Black” (Moore), who has been visiting his grave for several decades, and her point of view. The other half is the story is told by Valentino’s spirit (Nero). I call this movie a fantasy biopic because there is an element of intrigue in this juxtaposition and we don’t know until the very end what the truth was” said Kozlov.
Terry Moore as “The Lady in Black” in Silent Life
The film tells the story of Rudolph Valentino, the first Hollywood superstar and male sex symbol, as he ponders the most important philosophical questions of human existence from his deathbed. In the film, Valentino sits in an imaginary empty movie theatre as he, and the audience watches his life flicker like a silent movie on the screen. After Valentino’s unexpected death in 1926, a mysterious Lady in Black continued to visit his grave on the anniversary of his death with a single red rose, her identity hidden by a black veil.
In Silent Life, a group of young filmmakers encounter a mysterious elderly woman clad in all black, hiding her face and her secrets behind a veil, at Rudolph Valentino’s annual memorial service. She is the legendary Lady in Black, who has been coming annually to Valentino’s grave for untold decades, always bringing a single red rose. The team attempts to convince this solemn mourner to reveal her secret: was she really the last love of “The Great Lover” as the legend has it?
Isabella Rossellini as Marie Berthe Gabrielle Barbin, Valentino’s mother
Silent Life is being produced by Kozlov and Natalia Dar under their Dreamer Pictures banner, with Yury Ponomarev, and was written by Kozlov, Dar, and Ksenia Jarova.
About Silent Life‘s Journey
Silent Life writer/director/actor Vladislav Kozlov has taken the road less traveled in his journey to bring his bio-picture about the life and death and post-death of the first Hollywood male sex symbol Rudolph Valentino to audiences. In 2006 with the support of Hollywood Forever cemetery, Kozlov made a 17-minute silent short film, Daydreams of Rudolph Valentino, where he played the lead on his own terms, inspired by his eerie likeness to the silent screen Italian star, and his passionate love of classic Hollywood cinema.
In 2011 Kozlov decided to revisit the subject of his short film, Valentino, in a period feature film, and his work on Silent Life started. The ambitious project attracted top acting talents like Isabella Rossellini and Franco Nero, accomplished composer Robert Folk, editor Michael J. Duthie and producer Paul Maslansky.
A shorter artistic vision of the film (aka Death of the Sheik) was shown at Moscow International Film festival as a special screening in summer 2017 and received positive reviews of the critics.
“I think of my journey as a typical American Dream story come true. I came to this country with just a few dollars in my pocket, and went through the regular immigrant drill – washed dishes, cleaned motel rooms, etc before I set my foot on a movie set. No matter what, I never stopped dreaming big. I am very thankful to all the people who appreciated my passion for cinema and helped me on my way. I think what helped me most was that I never got discouraged by failures. I am an optimist. Even if they turned me down 500 times, I just kept on believing that the next time was going to be the charm,” said Kozlov.
Rudolph Valentino was a superstar of the Golden Era. 2017 marked the 90th anniversary of Valentino’s infamous funeral, attended by over 100,000 devoted fans. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery honors Valentino’s life every year with a memorial service, on August 23, every year. The public is invited to pay their respects.