I have always dreamt of being an actor and today I still dream how to develop my future projects
Written by Lorenza @lastanzettarosa
He won us all over with his pleasantry, his smile and that unmistakable bolognese accent in the famous 90s commercial.
He surprised us and made us meditate with his wonderful performance in Özpetek’s famous film ‘The Ignorant Fairies’; we dreamed, suffered, cried and screamed in many of his films, to name a few ‘Radiofreccia’, ‘The Last Kiss’, ‘Let Me Go’ and ‘Fast as the Wind’.
Stefano Accorsi, born into a family that he himself defines as ‘normal’, represents with his gentle and refined appearance the Italian gentleman par excellence, who, despite his great success, carries within him the same genuine boy who, with his baggage of dreams and hopes, took his first steps at the Bologna theatre school.
His kindness also comes through in the interview we did with him when we met him.
As a child, you experienced cinema as a watcher and defined it as a vehicle for talking quietly to yourself and getting excited; what about acting? Could you also call acting a sort of therapy?
I wouldn’t really call acting therapy, because having done real therapy, I know it’s something else; but it certainly allows you to understand things about yourself better and in some cases even to evolve and it’s a wonderful way to explore yourself, but above all, and this is even more interesting to me, it allows you to explore others, it’s a real exercise in empathy. The interpretation of the characters and the deep understanding of them and the dynamics related to them lead you to empathise more when it comes to judging something or someone and help you understand why some people have acted in a certain way. For an actor who decides to play a character, empathy is crucial.
Pupi Avati has certainly given your career a direction, which director, on the other hand, has made an important contribution to your growth as an actor?
It is difficult to say, certainly various directors have contributed in different ways, I believe that the job of an actor is partly to suggest, interpret and study the script, but partly also to be able to receive and know how to transform what is requested into acting. So I could say Gabriele Muccino for sure, with his way of always being inside, every single second, in the action in a visceral way. Özpetek for his great ability to constantly change what is written in the script, which leads you to a continuous search for interpretation, which I really like when it is possible, and from Placido I learnt to go beyond the clichés, beyond the most common characters, and he also led me to explore the slightly darker side. I believe that every director gives you something in the end, even the least experienced, simply because he has a new and fresh look at things. In general it is always interesting when there is an exchange between two people and two personalities.
We have seen you in totally different roles, which one do you think has entered you the most and which one has decisively marked your career?
A role that has definitely marked my career is Jack Frusciante, because that was a film that was really widely seen by kids and whole generations. Also “Radiofreccia” “Santa Maradona” “L’Ultimo Bacio” which have continued to be seen over the years have certainly contributed.
If we then talk about identification, there are more visceral roles that get under your skin as in ‘Radiofreccia’ and ‘Veloce come il vento’
and it is not so much the character itself, but what is at stake at that moment, which is why an apparently more ‘normal’ role such as Carlo’s in the film ‘L’Ultimo Bacio’ becomes interesting precisely because he is at a crucial crossroads in his life and because of the ongoing struggle he is involved in.
You said that when you were a child your dreams had the diameter of a 45 rpm, because it was from your listening to fairy tales on vinyl that your passion for cinema started. Today, however, how do you measure your dreams?
Previously, I used to project all my dreams in a direction I did not know at all, that is, the cinema, an almost dreamlike direction; today, having already done this job, the dreams are more focused on individual projects and their development.
I like the idea of keeping dreaming and putting myself to the test, not necessarily in the role of actor, but always remaining in this field that I feel is mine, as happened with the 1992, 1993 and 1994 trilogy of which I was the creator or as it’s happening with the series that will be released next year “Un Amore” where I am creative producer and co-creator.
Participating in big productions and developing a series is something that requires a lot of teamwork and also a different vision, and when you go to work as an actor within these projects, you realise that despite everything you continue to be surprised.
This broadening of horizons makes me very passionate and continues to make me dream, and of course I fantasize about working with directors or authors with whom I have not yet worked. For example, I have just made a film with Fabio De Luigi, where he directed, a wonderful comedy, an idea I had been cultivating for years, and when the proposal came to me I was delighted, we had a lot of fun.
I don’t shut anything out, I’d also love to give the voice to a cartoon.
Always talking about your past dreams, on several occasions you have recounted when you expressed to your mother your desire to write to Paul Newman to ask him to help you be an actor…what if a boy were to write to you today? What would you tell him?
I would tell him first of all not to rely all his hopes on a few written words, because it is really the naive dream of a young boy, a bit like what happens to those who dream of being a footballer or whatever; then, it may happen that a Paul Newman really calls you, but still, at best, it would be for one film; what you need is really wanting to do it and commitment, as with all jobs, I myself realised that it is the yeses rather than the noes, the work experience and the times you try and don’t get it that make the dream come true.
Even unpleasant experiences that sometimes happen, such as the insensitive person who treats you badly during an audition, the actor who tries to cheat you… well, you have to fight, and then of course there are many good things. But you have to get through it, roll up your sleeves and get busy; maybe even more today because when I started out, young people were beginning to play leading roles. Now there are many roles for young people and there are many young actors competing with each other, just look at some of the casts of Netflix or RAI. Nowadays I often meet up with children of friends who want to be actors, whereas when I was a kid I didn’t really know who to ask because nobody wanted to be an actor, but it was something I had inside and I didn’t even know why.
Did your middle school animation teacher play an important role in that period?
Ah yes, Laura Falqui! Her advice was fundamental, she told me that if I really wanted to be an actor I had to enrol in a theatre school and so I did. Then you also need a kind of instinct, I remember going around the different schools saying to myself ‘not this one’, ‘not this one’, while entering the school in Bologna run by Alessandra Galante Garrone, I thought ‘this is where it’s serious, this is the right place for me’.
Cinema, theatre, television and multiple awards including David di Donatello, Coppa Volpi and Nastro d’Argento… work-wise, what’s in your drawer today? Your future projects?
At this point in my career I certainly would like to write and direct a film.
I would certainly like to continue with the sequel to ‘Un Amore’ which is a series conceived in 3 seasons and among future projects, at this point in my career certainly writing and directing a film.