Cristiana Pedersoli is the daughter of Carlo Pedersoli, universally known as Bud Spencer.
Being the daughter of a myth is undoubtedly an important legacy. Cristiana took the sacred fire of art not only from her father, beloved all over the world, but also from her grandfather: that Peppino Amato who produced unforgettable films that made the history of the Italian cinema, the most notable, “La Dolce Vita” by Federico Fellini.
Cristiana lives in Rome, an appreciated and renowned painter and sculptor, devoted to philanthropic causes: her book was published a few months ago. Un gigante per papà (A Giant for a Father- Giunti) has already sold thousands of copies: a real success!
Cri Cri, as her father Bud nicknamed her, is the mother of Sofia and Nicolò, but she continues to work and cultivate art, creativity and traveling to get to know the other cultures of the world.
Bud Spencer was your father. For everybody, an unforgettable actor, a protagonist of our times. For you, especially “Papà Carlo”.W hen did you decide, and why, to write a book about him?
“I started writing a diary of memories, a few months after dad passed away.
I felt the need to put into words all the memories and happy moments spent together, perhaps even to let my children know some aspects of their grandfather’s life of which they were not aware, but that were worth knowing.
Then, unexpectedly, the German publisher of dad’s books liked my notes, and he decided to publish them because his readers’ interest in Bud Spencer was still very strong”.
What are the most important professional memories that made you so close to your father?
“Dad was a curious man with strong passions; a man enthusiastic about life. We shared a great harmony and we understood each other totally.
I have never argued with him; we did not like arguing. He always told me that he and I were the same, with the same character, and that made me proud. The best professional memories are those related to the movies, for example those related to the Piedone series.
There are many funny anecdotes I can recall happening on those movie sets. Piedone is a character who totally represents him with all his Neapolitan character: a healthy bearer of positive values and generosity.
As any good Neapolitan, my father immersed himself in his Naples and that way recharged his spirit”.
In the book “Un gigante per papà” (Giunti), that you wrote a few months ago, which private episodes of your father’s life have never been narrated to the public before?
“I am sure his audience did not know all the vicissitudes experienced during his childhood and adolescence in Naples, such as the bombing of the family factory, or the strength it took to start over after WWII or the journey, with his family, to South America as immigrants, looking for a new life.
Also the novelty of the experience of living with the Indians in the Amazon, which certainly influenced his interior path, making him a very spiritual man in old age”.
Your father and Naples: an intense relationship. How did your father’s philosophy of life mirror his napoleitanità?
“Very, very much. Naples was a staple in his life, he always carried it with him, in his heart, throughout the world. He often said that if he had not been born in Naples, he wouldn’t have been able to do everything he did. Neapolitans have a unique way of seeing the world: joyful and melancholic at the same time, with a great energy and acceptance of reality, and my father embodied it perfectly. His life philosophy was the ‘Futtetenne’”.
Cristiana, you are a painter and a sculptor: have you ever involved your father in any of your artistic ventures? When?
“Yes. My main occupation is painting and sculpting in stone and iron. The most beautiful experience lived together with him, in the artistic field, was the realization of an auction of ‘piggy banks’, organized together with other artists, and whose proceeds were then donated to an association that deals with the care of underprivileged minors in distress. After a few days, dad passed away, but his enthusiasm for this experience remained great until the end”.
Your father’s relationship with your mother Maria: their marriage was long and happy. In your opinion, what was their secret as a couple?
“The bond between my mother and my father was very important, built with sacrifice, respect and a great deal of love. Even in choosing his life partner, dad was not wrong, because my mother was the pillar of the family. They were completely different: he was like a cicada and she was like an ant; the classic opposites that attract. Their squabbles were funny and witty, and even we, their children, enjoyed listening to them. Dad was a good and funny man, so in the end she forgave him everything ”.
Let’s talk now of your father’s relationship with Giuseppe and Diamante, your siblings, and also of your own personal relationship with them.
“The bond that dad had with us three children was certainly different; he also had a working relationship with Giuseppe, and therefore there were more discussions related to the problems on the set. Temperamentally they were different, because Giuseppe is much more like our mother, less artistic and more down to earth. Diamante has lived for many years in the United States, so their relationship has been a little off and on, but she was the youngest of the family and there was a lot of tenderness between them. As for me, living in the same building, I happened to meet him on a daily base, and there was always an exchange and a continuous relationship. Regarding us, the three siblings, there has always been a strong and important bond, certainly transmitted down from our parents “.
The book about your father has been a huge success: about 18,000 copies sold. It has been translated into German as well, hasn’t it?
“Yes, the book has been translated into German and into Hungarian, as well. I recently received a proposal from Spain, so I hope it will soon be published there too. Promoting it was a great experience; going around during the various presentations, I did not expect all the love still so alive from the fans and so much curiosity to know the most intimate aspects of my father’s life “.
Your father’s success has perhaps had more echo abroad than in Italy, even if at home, as we highlighted, everybody remembers him and continues to love him. What can you tell us about this international love for his figure as an actor and a man?
“It’s true, abroad, especially in Germany and Hungary, Bud Spencer has become a real cult character. Next June, Covid pandemic restrictions allowing, we should inaugurate an exhibition about him in Berlin. However, even in Italy, he still has a lot of fans. They loved him for his generous spirit, his humility even in success. Dad had an instinctive empathetic nature, he was capable of bringing together families with a smile and he has always acted in defense of the weakest. He was a real man, on a set as well as in his private life”.
We are approaching the end of the interview: it is inevitable to ask you about your father’s relationship with Terence Hill. And about the relationship that you, his children, still have today with Terence.
“My father and Terence have had an extraordinary career, which has taken them around the world to live unique and unrepeatable experiences, and this has bonded them strongly. They were very different, but united by a great faith and mutual respect; they also had a lot of fun together on the set and when they shot scenes together, something magic was always created between them, with each one giving the best of themselves. We are very fond of Terence and his family, although, unfortunately, we have not been able to see them lately; we are in contact by telephone for all important occasions”.
If you could tell your father something today, almost five years after his death, what would you tell him? What has happened in your life that you would love him to know? And is there something that you regret not having had the time to tell him before he passed?
“Fortunately, we were able to talk a lot before his death, and my father had often had the opportunity to express his love and esteem for me, so I have no regrets. I am only sorry that he did not participate in many of my artistic successes, and he did not see the work and life achievements of my children: he would have been so proud. I would like to tell him that I miss his physical presence, but that I feel him close to me often, and that gives me a lot of strength. Of course, I would also like to tell him that the world has been much uglier since he is no longer here”.