The upcoming movie "Nine" has more stars per square inch than most planetariums. Think Penelope Cruz. Think Daniel Day-Lewis. Think Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson and Dame Judi Dench. Think Fergie and Marion Cotillard.
A casting nightmare? Director Rob Marshall said it wasn't. He started with one phone call, to perhaps the movie's most famous actress of all: Sophia Loren.
"My heart was beating out of my shirt," Marshall said. Like his acclaimed film from 2002, "Chicago," "Nine" was to be an adaptation of a musical by the same name, which itself echoed Federico Fellini's landmark film "8 1/2." The participation of Loren, who knew and worked with Fellini, would give the film instant weight.
Marshall called. Loren said yes.
For the first and only time, "Nightline" got the entire cast of "Nine" together at New York's legendary Plaza Hotel for a feisty and intimate conversation. Cynthia McFadden led the actors and their director in a discussion of the new film, life backstage, eating habits, the pain of rehearsal and more.
Click HERE for a full transcript of Cynthia McFadden's conversation with the cast of "Nine."
"I know it was very kumbaya, but come on -- somebody had a fight with someone, didn't they?" asked McFadden.
"Who had a fight?" said Day-Lewis. "I am trying to think."
"Nobody?" McFadden pressed. "Not like, 'My publicist is bigger than your publicist'? None of that stuff?"
"Hold on," said Fergie. "There's a funny story. And she is not here but it's really cute. I remember this one day and we were doing the overture. And each woman is presented, and the very last shot of the day became Sophia's ... and Sophia's close-up was at the end of the day, and she was so upset, but I completely understood."
Marshall professed his guilt.
"You are absolutely right, that was something that was my mistake," he said, "thinking it was better to do it in order and not in continuity. As opposed to thinking in terms of, you know, this iconic actor from, you know, from film. And then you realize that's important. So that was something."
"Had to ransack every florist in London!" joked Day-Lewis, to a round of laughter.
"And she forgave you?" asked McFadden.
"Yeah," said Marshall. "And she looked gorgeous, too."
Loren had to leave the luncheon early to catch a flight. McFadden took the opportunity to ask the rest of the cast about working with the legendary star of "It Started in Naples," "Two Women," "Marriage, Italian Style" and other classics.
"I was going to ask each of you," said McFadden. "I know that fame isn't calibrated in any kind of way, but since [Loren] is not with you right now: Is she the most famous of you all, do you think?"
"Without a shadow of doubt," said Day-Lewis.
"I remember I was putting on makeup one day in the mirror, because I don't ever really do that," said Hudson. "In real life, I am really bad at putting a face on. And she was watching me like this, and I turned around and she looked at me and said, 'More blush!' And I went, 'Really?' And she was like, 'Oh, yeah,' and I was like, 'Oh, OK!' And she was right. I needed more blush.
"And we went to dinner, and [we were] eating as we do on set -- eating and eating a lot. And she comes to me and she pushes my plate aside, because I am eating a lot. And she says, 'No more,'" Hudson said, laughing. "No more!"
"There is a great relationship, I have to say, between Sophia and Penelope," said Marshall.