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Brando was working on final film
03/07/2004 - 09:26:14

A week before his death, Marlon Brando, aged and ill, was at work making script changes for a new movie, Brando and Brando, that was to start shooting this month.

The director and the associate producer of the film both said that Brando, who would have portrayed himself, was ailing but enthusiastic about the project.

“I’m so sad and nearly paralysed,” French-Tunisian director Ridha Behi said. “But I will nevertheless make the movie to pay homage to him. I’ll go on with the film.”

Brando and Brando tells the story of a young Tunisian who journeys to the United States in pursuit of the American dream – embodied by Brando, who died on Thursday of lung failure at a Los Angeles hospital at the age of 80.

But the dream quickly fades into disillusionment to expose what the script portrays as the unfair balance between the powerful West and the rest of the world.

The movie was to be filmed in July and August in Los Angeles and Tunisia, with Brando working during a 10-day period in Los Angeles, Behi said.

Behi said the film would move forward without Brando.

“No one will take his place,” Behi said. “Brando is Brando.”

Behi said he was in Los Angeles three weeks ago, working on the script with Brando.

Phil Symes, associate producer for the movie, said he was at Brando’s house last Thursday, a week before the star died.

“He was not a well man, but he seemed in very good spirits,” Symes said.

Brando was “still expressing his keenness to make the film … still talking enthusiastically” about it.

Behi’s previous films range from Secret Obsessions of 1986 to La Boite Magique (The Magic Box) featured at the Venice Film Festival in 2002.

Behi said he met Brando numerous times, and spoke with him by telephone a week before his death. However, he said he did not feel that he ever truly got to know Brando well.

“He remains someone very mysterious,” Behi said. “I think that it’s very difficult to gain Brando’s friendship, and I don’t have the pretension to think I had it.”