Roberto Saviano, the Italian author of Gomorrah, a hit book exposing the behind-the-scenes machinations of the Camorra (the mob), has been under 24-hour police watch for the past two years. But with the movie version of Gomorrah now also a hit, Saviano is facing more heat than ever — Naples' anti-Mafia squad is investigating a claim that the Camorra plan to have the author and his bodyguards killed by Christmas. It's pretty much as ridiculously cinematic as it sounds: The information came from an informant close to Francesco Schiavone, the imprisoned Camorra godfather known as Sandokan; apparently, the Casalesi sub-clan has moved its assassination plans into the "operative" phase.
Saviano, a journalist, has received extensive media coverage since the publication of Gomorrah, his first book, in 2006, both because of its massive success — it's a bestseller throughout Europe, has been translated into 42 languages, and, along with the film version by the same name (which is Italy's submission for the Oscars this year), has been adapted for the stage — and the constant Mafia threats. Saviano is in semi-hiding and sounds bored to tears: He told a radio show yesterday that "many days are terrible," and that he whiles away time boxing with his bodyguards who sometimes call him "captain." Meanwhile, the author's safety is a national concern in Italy — former Cabinet minister Giovanna Melandri has publicly declared, "Nobody must touch Saviano!" Especially those Casalesi assassins — no touching!
If all of this weren't crazy enough, the actor Bernardino Terracciano, who has a part in the Gomorrah movie, was among seven suspected Mafia affiliates arrested over the weekend. Terracciano, who allegedly has ties to the Casalesi clan, plays mob boss Zi Bernardino in the film; he was turned in by fellow gangster Oreste Spagnuolo. Yikes!