06/12/2012 08:42 am ET

Matteo Garrone Allegedly Paid Off Mob While Filming 'Gommorah'

Matteo Garrone may have gotten an offer he couldn't refuse.

According to Italian prosecutors, Garrone allegedly paid off members of the mafia while making his breakout 2008 film, "Gommorah." The film -- which featured many non-actors with ties to the mob in key roles -- told the story of the modern-day Italian mafia and was a global success. Garrone's work earned nominations at the Golden Globes and Cannes, as well as high praise from critics; "Gommorah" has a sparkling 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and MetaCritic score of 87. The film also earned runner-up honors at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

As reported by THR, Garrone is accused of giving the equivalent of $26,000 to local mobsters for protection during filming ("Gommorah" was filmed all around Naples, including some seedier neighborhoods). In exchange, the mafia allegedly had some say in the finished product.

"I don't think I have ever been a very realistic director," Garrone said during last month's Cannes Film Festival where he debuted a new film, "Reality." "I talk about reality and then transfigure it, lend another dimension -– and then it becomes a fable."

These allegations aren't the first time Garrone has come in contact with the criminal underworld. "Reality" stars Aniello Arena -- who's a convicted murderer still in prison -- in the lead role.

"I wanted him to appear in 'Gomorrah,' but the judge wouldn't allow it," Garrone said last month. "We received the authorization for him to appear in ['Reality'] but he was not allowed to come here to Cannes."

For his part, the director denies making any payouts -- though he does admit to meeting with members of the mafia.

[via THR, affaritaliani.it]



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