What It Was Like to Work on 'Nine'

"Nightline" convened all-star cast at Plaza for feisty, intimate conversation.

ByABC News
December 9, 2009, 12:18 PM

Dec. 10, 2009 — -- 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."