Filming Set To Begin On Brothel Movie

A film based loosely on Nevada's infamous Mustang Ranch brothel and its former owners Joe and Sally Conforte will begin filming early next year, state film officials said.

Oscar-winning actors Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren are cast in the leading roles in the movie "Love Ranch."

According to, the film is a drama about a couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada and the violence that followed when their relationship was tested by infidelity.

That plot line mirrors the history of Joe Conforte and his wife, Sally, who opened the Mustang Ranch brothel east of Reno in 1971.

In 1976, boxer Oscar Bonavena, who was managed by Sally Conforte
and was suspected of having an affair with her, was shot to death
outside the Mustang Ranch.

But Robin Holabird of the Nevada Film Office said the movie is not an historical portrayal.

"The film is informed by the Conforte story, as anyone familiar with the area's history would know, but it's not a blow-by-blow account of the Mustang Ranch," Holabird said.

"The film doesn't try to be factually accurate."

Most of the movie will be shot in New Mexico, but scenes are planned for Reno, Storey County and Carson City.

The story is told from the perspective of the brothel madam, played by Mirren, said Toni Suttie, whose Reno firm, Integrity Casting is hiring actors and extras for the film.

"It's not a brothel movie. It's about the rise and fall of this couple and about what they went through in 1976," Suttie said.

"It's one of the best screenplays I've ever read."

The movie will be directed by Taylor Hackford ("Ray," "Officer and a Gentleman"), who will be working with his wife, Mirren, ("The Queen") for the first time since the two did "White Nights" in 1985.

Pesci, who starred in "Raging Bull," "Casino," and "Goodfellas," retired in 1999 but had a small role in 2006's "The Good Shepherd."

He hasn't accepted a starring role since 1998's "Lethal Weapon 4."