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But it hadn’t occurred to me that I could do that.” For a long time, she confesses, she put off acting too, fearing comparison with her mother, a three-time Oscar winner, the star of Casablanca and one of Hitchcock’s blondes. But I never felt that – I still don’t.” She is sanguine on the subject, admitting that she “has not had the career my mum had in acting.“I thought acting was going to be difficult, because Mama was so revered. I think if it had been my only career, there would have been a little bit of sore in my heart. [The photographer] Richard Avedon said to me, ‘Modelling is not a big art. It’s very subtle, but you are still acting: you still have to give emotion.” Rossellini’s parentage is the stuff of cinema legend.So colossal was her parents’ fame in the 1950s – not only for their films, but also the extramarital affair that brought them together – that the family house in Rome was often surrounded by a swarm of paparazzi, half a century before such issues affected Hollywood A-listers.But Rossellini has achieved fame in her own right too, first as a model, including 14 years as the luminous face of Lancôme, then as an actress, with enigmatic, quirky roles in such films as David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart.Bergman was married to the neurosurgeon Petter Lindstrom, with whom she had a daughter, Pia, but after seeing Rossellini’s film Rome, Open City she wrote to him, saying, “If you need a Swedish actress who speaks English very well, and who, in Italian, knows only Ti amo [‘I love you’], I am ready to come and make a film with you.” Rossellini – who was married to and had two children with the Italian actress Marcella de Marchis – responded by giving her the lead in Stromboli.By the end of filming, Bergman was pregnant with his son, sparking an international scandal, with moralising American politicians calling Rossellini “vile and unspeakable” and Bergman “a powerful influence for evil”.
’ I don’t know why I needed to hear it from someone else.If a friend calls and asks me to do something, then of course I do it because I want to be with them, but it’s never a career move.” Although she has lived in America for more than 40 years, her accent is still heavily European, with an idiosyncratic turn of phrase.