‘What Would Sophia Loren Do?’ Examines How Two Very Different Women Are Actually Very Closely Connected
February 9, 2021
The short documentary What Would Sophia Loren Do? is a lovely look at two women’s lives well-lived. There's Sophia Loren, the well-known actress who has lived life more than once over, and then there's Nancy “Vincenza” Kulik, a mom from New Jersey. That said, the pair may have more in common than meets the eye, and that’s partially the premise of the documentary. That, and we all need guidance and words of wisdom in hard times, and sometimes the films of Sophia Loren are just as comforting, as say, church. Either way, Kulik has often been able to find the answers she needs by studying the great Loren’s films, and the wisdom she’s gathered from her study are undeniably heartwarming.
Kulik started looking to Sophia’s films early in motherhood. She preferred watching her films over exercising (her own admission).
“Growing up, my mom would often pose to me this wonderful, fun question: ‘Regina, what would Sophia Loren do?’ She would do so whenever she was trying to remind me of my values and my strong grounded, Italian heritage. It became a metaphor in our family and among me and my friends." So for producer (and Kulik’s daughter) Regina K. Scully, the movie was about putting her family’s life philosophy on screen.
"I began making and producing documentary films, and crossed paths on a project with Sophia’s amazing son Edoardo Ponti. I told him about my sweet family upbringing and my mother’s deep admiration of his mother. We both knew we had to introduce them!”
Kulik’s absolute favorite Loren film is It Started in Naples, the 1960 romantic comedy starring Loren and Clark Gable. Bottom line, Kulik is a sucker for a great love story, and she’s been living her own touching one with her husband for decades, while raising her three children. In fact, working hard to create a family is one major connection Kulik sees between herself and Loren. Kulik notes the sacrifices Loren often made to ensure she was able to carve out time for family, and Kulik is not wrong.
This lovely piece culminates when Kulik gets a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with Loren. The pair hit it off immediately. “She is very comfortable and authentic,” glowed Kulik. “From the moment we met, we were both natural and we connected personally — immediately. You can't do that unless both parties are comfortable and authentic. It was an immediate 'sisterhood.' We both have an understanding of Italian culture.”
Kulik’s joy over the meeting is palpable and in a dark time, it’s so heartwarming to see such a natural and unexpected friendship blossom. Scully agrees. “It meant so much to Nancy to meet Sophia, not only because she’s an international icon and star, but because she so enjoyed and appreciated the real beautiful human being that Sophia is! Sophia represents the best of Nancy’s Italian heritage, and she’s resilient and joyful. As is Nancy. So Nancy got the opportunity to speak with Sophia in Italian and to talk and laugh with her about real life. They both could really relate in a warm, personal way. And Sophia was as gracious as ever! Both women discussed life, and giggled joyfully along the way.”
And that’s what the film What Would Sophia Loren Do? feels like — a joyful giggle. A respite from the every day. A call to sit down with a great Sophia Loren movie and remind yourself in troubled times — What Would Sophia Loren Do?
Written by: Lindsay StidhamLindsay holds an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. She has overseen two scripts from script to screen as a writer/ producer. SPOONER, starring Matthew Lillard (SLAMDANCE), and DOUCHEBAG (SUNDANCE) both released theatrically. Most recently Lindsay sold PLAY NICE starring Mary Lynn Rajskub. The series was distributed on Hulu. Recent directing endeavors include the Walla Walla premiering (and best screenplay nominated) TIL DEATH DO US PART, and the music video for Bible Belt’s Tomorrow All Today. Lindsay is currently working on an interactive romcom for the production company Effin' Funny, and a feature film script for Smarty Pants Pictures. Lindsay also currently works as an Adjunct Screenwriting Faculty member at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. You can follow her work here: https://lindsaystidham.onfabrik.com/