Though “Nine” boasts a cast of Oscar winners - Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard - it’sBlack Eyed Peas vocalist Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson who steals the movie musical.
As the prostitute Saraghina, Fergie’s solo “Be Italian” is a showstopper.
“We expected several people to come audition and walk away with the role,” said producer Joseph DeLuca. “But it was Fergie who surprised us.”
“You know I’m definitely the singer coming into this A-list acting world so it was intimidating for me,” Fergie said at Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
“I was just very hungry for this role,” she said. “I really wanted it and went after it like a really good student.”
Fergie watched the source for the movie, Federico Fellini’s 1965 “8” several times and studied “old Italian actresses, how they walked, how they spoke with their hands.”
For her screen test, “I’ve learned since I was a little girl when you want something, you walk in as that character,” she said.
As she dressed, “I’m doing the hair and making everything look bigger. I tried to make my lips look fuller and red and more Italian, to contour my nose to make it look more Italian.”
As for the song’s “extroverted style,” that came “naturally.”
“What was intimidating is that when I’m doing the number I’m not moving like myself. During this film whenever I would sit down I would never cross my legs because that’s not how Saraghina would sit. She wasn’t a lady.”
Singing her solo took preparation.
“I say ‘Be Italian’ many times in the song. It’s important for me to have every time I say ‘Be Italian’ for it to have a different meaning. Because there are so many different things about being Italian: There’s love of life, love of food, of sex, drink, dancing, singing, you know? And every one is different.”