The Italian Almanac

Silvio Berlusconi

Italian News - December 9

An Italian actor threw German police into panic on Wednesday night, when he showed up at the European premiere of a Hollywood blockbuster pretending to be Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Maurizio Antonini, an actor little known outside Italy, upstaged the official star of the night, King Kong, by throwing a temper tantrum outside the Berlin cinema when security wouldn't let him in. Flustered police and security officials, initially taken in by the actor's impersonation, rushed to double-check guest lists and make urgent phone calls.

Antonini, clad in a smart, tailored suit and accompanied by three bodyguards, grew more and more irate, drawing camera and media attention away from the Hollywood stars gathered for the screening of King Kong in Potsdamerplatz. Italians present described the impersonation as nearly perfect, apart from actor's Tuscan accent, while the prime minister is from Milan - a detail, however, which German police would not have been able to spot. But Antonini was eventually sent packing after someone realized that the real Italian premier would not possibly have been missed from the guest list.

The stunt was staged as a way of drawing attention to another film, "Bye Bye Berlusconi" by the German director Jan Henryk Stahlberg.