The Inspiration Behind The New Netflix Hit,’What Would Sophia Loren Do?’

Executive Producer Regina K. Scully reflects on sharing her mom’s story with the world

Executive Producer Regina K. Scully reflects on sharing her mom with the world in What Would Sophia Loren Do?, a new documentary on Netflix that follows Nancy “Vincenza” Kulik, an Italian-American grandmother living in New Jersey, who idolizes Sophia Loren.

I knew from a very early age that I have a very special mother. I also knew when you get a Mom like this, you have to share her. Over the years, so many of my friends and colleagues have relied upon the love, wisdom and support of my Mom. Little did I know I would be sharing her with millions of people around the world through the premiere of the Netflix short documentary What Would Sophia Loren Do?.

A few years ago, I knew I wanted to make a film about my Italian heritage in honor of Mother. She was born in America shortly after her parents – my grandparents – emigrated from Italy. My Italian roots were celebrated throughout my childhood. Everything we did was infused with the spirit, food and culture of Italy. When my grandparents went to the movies, it was always Italian cinema. It was through these years that the iconic Sophia Loren inspired my mother. While living seemingly very different lives, they actually shared so many universal experiences, emotions and core values. 

Through the years, as my Mom and I would share and discuss things, I would often “recommend” new information, some of which she appreciated, and to some she would ask me, “Regina, What would Sophia Loren do?” Such was the case when I proposed she try whole wheat pasta! She looked me right in the eyes and said, “What would Sophia Loren do?” From that moment forward, I knew I had the title and the essence of the film. I also knew I wanted to work with Director Ross Kauffman and Producer Robin Honan to bring this story to life. So many people had a hand in capturing the depth, meaning and unique parallels between my Mother’s and Sophia Loren’s remarkable lives.

This film takes us on a journey of love, loss and joyful triumphs; you laugh, you cry and find strength in these two extraordinary women. The film conveys universal truths that touch everyone’s heart and soul, and reminds us that we have so much more in common than we think. No matter what we go through in life, we all have the inner resources, the courage and the resilience to get through whatever life throws our way… and to always find the humor, gratitude and joy in it all.