What inspired screenwriter John Fusco (of Hidalgo fame) to create Marco Polo, a new Netflix series based on the life of the 13th-century Venetian explorer? An epic journey of his own—guided by nomads through Central Asia on horse and camel. After that 2007 trek (and later trips to remote corners of China), Fusco resolved to turn the story of the world’s first globe-trotter into a TV drama.
The Oscar-nominated actor—returning this month as a hammy commentator in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1—speaks to T+L about Italy, vodka, and the destination of his dreams.
Q: Your second cookbook, The Tucci Table (Gallery Books), was just published. As a foodie, what do you love most about living in London?
A: The city is a food mecca now. There are so many incredible local chefs, such as Tom Kerridge and Heston Blumenthal, who’s become a friend—his restaurant, the Fat Duck, is one of the best in the world. There’s also such cultural diversity, so you’ll find fantastic Italian, Indian, French—really anything you want.
In The White Sheik, a 1952 film by the great Italian director Federico Fellini, a young newlywed wanders onto the set of her favorite television show. She watches, star struck, as actors parade through in elaborate costumes, getting ready to shoot a scene. Her feeling of awe is palpable, and familiar to many of us who have caught a glimpse of a favorite TV show or movie being filmed.
Cinecittà World, a new theme park opened last month in Rome—a city rich in film history—aims to bring some movie magic to the public. Inspired by Cinecittà, the film studio that was once called Hollywood on the Tiber, it offers twenty attractions, eight film sets, and four theaters.
In Richard Linklater’s new Boyhood—a masterful film documenting twelve years of a boy’s life—little happens but everything seems monumental and emotionally charged. The same could be said for the film’s cinematography by Lee Daniel and Shane F. Kelly. Texas has never looked so good, so colorful, so inviting.
From an Austin dawn seen through the bleary eyes of up-all-night high school kids, to a sparkling swimming hole at Pedernales Falls State Park; from a peyote-enhanced sunset in Big Bend National Park to a family visit to a working ranch, the Lone Star State is observed through a loving and nostalgic lens. There are myriad reasons to see the movie (really), but it almost works as an extended Texas travelogue. The porch of an old stone house, a broad alley running behind small-town shops, the lacquered pine panels of an historic ranch cabin, every frame takes on the kind of atmospheric magic that state tourism boards dream of creating. The kind of magic that makes a person start planning a trip.
Opening shot: a seemingly blissed-out New Yorker drives a lonesome West Texas highway in the cramped cab of a Toyota pickup, the Sir Doug Quintet on the radio…
Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc.
Big Bend National Park photo: Steven Stokan, via the T+L Photo Contest
Dinner and a movie is pretty much the lamest date idea ever. Dinner and a movie while soaking in a hot tub or sitting in a castle? Better!
Because nothing's better than watching The Goonies under the stars and drinking beer out of a Nalgene, we've tracked down some of the most stunning, scenic, or otherwise odd outdoor theaters around the globe.SEE THE LIST AT THRILLIST
Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Lt. Hikaru Sulu on the Star Trek TV series and films, is the focus of a new documentary, To Be Takei, which opens in selected theaters on August 22. The affable Takei, who, as Mr. Sulu, boldly navigated the Starship Enterprise where no one had gone before, is quite a terrestrial traveler, as well. In fact, he is currently on board the Cunard Queen Mary 2 as a guest lecturer. We caught up with him at a pre-sailing press conference on the ship followed by a one-on-one travelandleisure.com interview to ask him about traveling, Howard Stern, his long-running feud with Star Trek co-star William Shatner, and why he agreed to play a talking head, literally, on the animated series Futurama.
Swedish director Lasse Hallström gives T+L the dish, as his latest release, The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, hits theaters.
Chile’s Atacama, China’s Gobi, Egypt’s Sahara, and Antarctica are widely considered the driest places on Earth—and they're all captured in Desert Runners, a documentary on the high-endurance 4 Deserts Race Series, which pits runners against salt flats, sand dunes, and snow drifts across the globe.
Follow a woman’s incredible 1,700 mile, solo journey through the Australian outback in the upcoming film, Tracks.
In 1977, Robyn Davidson made a 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of Western Australian with her dog and four camels. Davidson had no intention of documenting her adventures until she eventually agreed to write about her trip in National Geographic magazine.