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Director Fulvio Cecere Discusses the Journey Through 350 Days Documentary

Posted By James Walsh on 07/06/18


Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Fulvio Cecere
Date: 07/07/18
Your Host: James Walsh

Doing wrestling interviews myself for the past 16 years, it is rare that much is said or talked about by wrestlers that manages to surprise me. Yet, 350 Days' trailer is somewhat shocking even to me. You see guys like Bret Hart, Greg Valentine, and others discussing, openly, their cocaine use. You hear JJ Dillon discuss his infidelity on the road! This is a real eye opening, truthful, powerful look at pro wrestling in the true golden era that all of us fans remember most fondly.

Our guest, Fulvio Cecere, is the Director of the film. Cecere is a character actor that found himself involved in a wrestling project after filming the hit film Cinderellaman.

350 Days hits theaters across America for a one night only showing on July 12th. Special premieres will be held in New York City and at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California.




FULVIO CECERE:

On working on Cindrellaman leading to him doing this project:
"That's kind of misleading in a way. Because of working on Cindrellaman, I became good friends with a guy named Angelo Dundee who of course was Muhammad Ali's trainer, manager, and a boxing icon. It was through him I went to the Pro Boxing Hall of Fame a few times. This was 5, 6 years ago. Through Angelo, I met Darren (Antola) who is a famous cut man and another legendary trainer. It was there that we struck a friendship. He started telling me about this one project he was working on. It involved some wrestlers. Ultimately, I tried to help him with that but it didn't go anywhere. But, then, he had this other idea. I thought it was pretty fascinating and he had access to these wrestlers. Now, I was not a wrestling fan at the time. You know, I was back in the 60's going to see Bruno Sammartino and other staples of that time. I wrestled in high school in Hawthorne, NJ - The Hawthorne Bears! But other than that, that was it. So, it was through Darren - I liked the idea and that he had access to these wrestlers. So, I offered to direct it! So, I put together a crew. We got together with some of the wrestlers the first weekend and it was, from the very beginning, just gold. It went from that weekend when we got, I think, 6 wrestlers. It led to another 21 days of shooting, 120 hours of footage, and a total of 72 people interviewed. It took us 5 years to do that. But, it started that weekend in New Jersey! Our first interview happened to be Tito Santana who is a Jersey guy. "Superstar" Billy Graham happened to be in town. We shot him that weekend as well. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was also there. We got Angelo Savoldi, also living in New Jersey, at the time he was the oldest living wrestler."

On having so many deceased wrestlers in their final appearances in this film:
"Absolutely. Without question. And, if I may add to that, there are actually 12 people who have passed away since we first started. Some didn't make it into the movie - Buddha Khan for example. Don Fargo did make it into the movie and he's passed away. It is sad. But, the great thing, if there is a great thing to take away from it, is we have their last interviews. And, there are several others who aren't doing very well with health issues. It is a time capsule."

On wrestling now:
"Wrestling fans know there is no such thing as territories anymore. There's just the one (WWE). Although, there is something to be said about the pretty new and exciting companies like Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, and New Japan. They're really making some headway now. But, ultimately, when you think of wrestling, you think of WWE. Up until the 90's, there were territories. I think there were 32 or 33 at the time. This is their story! What I want stressed is the wrestling fans are going to love this because there is a nostalgia factor - they're going to remember all these guys if they're older. The new guys are going to love it because they can hear the history versus today. But, this isn't a wrestling movie. This is a movie about the people who lived that life. They just happened to be wrestlers just like the movie The Wrestler. The movie THe Wrestler isn't about Mickie Rourke portraying a wrestler. It is about a father and his relationship with his daughter. He just happened to be a wrestler! So, that is what this movie is. It is about the life that they lived on the road, missing their families, missing birthdays, the adultary. The vioelnce from the fans if you beat their champion. Getting SHOT in the ring! Could you imagine, unless you're a soldier, a firefighter, or a cop, you wouldn't expect to get shot on the job! Not a wrestler! And yet, it happened!"

On the honesty of the wrestlers talkig about their lifestyles:
"The one thing I took away from this is it was so candid, it was so honest! These guys, they're leaving their history! There's no sugar coating. There's no WWE bashing here. It is telling their life. There is no choosing sides. This is a true documentary. We're just documenting their life!"

If any wrestler refused to answer personal questions:
"Not one of them. Every one of them... Well, I made sure they were comfortable and we had some pretty great locations. The first thing was putting them at ease where whatever they wanted to talk about is totally fine. That's what they told us! Along the way, there's talk about steroids, there's talk about drugs, there's talk about missing their kids.... It is so honest!"

"It is not a question of caring. We were very, very clear and spacific about that. I have nothing against Vince McMahon. The man is a genius. How can you? There may be personal beefs between the wrestlers and him but not with me. My job was to tell their story and what these guys went through. I think ultimately, because he (Vince McMahon) is such a wrestling fan, I think he's going to love it. There's nothing in there to not like! Even the stuff abotu drugs and all that. They all know how bad it was. So, they're telling you what it was like. Every single one, to every man and woman, if they had to do it over again - they would!"

On if he ever thought "What am I getting into here?"
"Such a great question. Every one of these guys, really, I'm in awe of. As an actor, I have a certain skill set. I think I'm pretty good at what I do. I memorize lines. I get into character. I know how to work the camera. I can direct! I know all of that. I've been to film school. I've been in over 200 productions. These guys are so all incompassing. Not only do they need to create drama, they have to be good at improv. They have to sell that whole fight. They have to talk in kayfabe - that is like a whole other language. They're stunt men! It is like a movie studio in every character. On top of that, they're big giant guys! (laughs) It is stunning! I am so impressed with these guys."

On July 12th:
"We're actually going to have 2 premieres that night. One is going to be in New York and will have Greg Valentine, JJ Dillon, and Tito Santana in person. In addition, I will be doing a premiere at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I will have a crazy list of guys coming. I've got Judo Gene Lebell - He's so awesome, I'm so glad that he's coming. I've got 5 of the original GLOW girls, Bennie the Jet, Chavo Guerrero Jr, Rock Riddle who was the original "Mr. Wonderful", I've got 3 of the Ring of Honor champs in Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky. I've got the former "Cryme Tyme" JTG and Shad Gaspard. I've got Ernest "The Cat" Miller. I've got Sabu and "Super Genie" Melissa Coats... It is just a crazy, crazy night and I think both events are going to sell out. I'm so excited!"