Interview by Sandra Bischarini
Talent is a blessing, but even such fortune needs to be nurtured with hard work. It wouldn’t be any different for the young man who left Monte Santa Maria after finishing his high school diploma, clearly determined to follow his life’s dream – “I wanted to be an actor”.
This determination was the recurrent theme with which he built on his talent through study and dedication. The 29 year old started out as a model; favoured with a physicality that would be hard not to look at, this was an inevitable first step. But being on the catwalk wasn’t enough for Graziano – he wanted to learn more about himself in order to understand others better. He managed to get on a 3 year course at the Music Art and Show school in Milan, [like an academy for the performing arts]. “I was a little fish in a big pond” he recalled in our lengthy telephone interview, “but a little fish that was determined to show what he could do”.
You’ve got a great CV, full of consistent work in TV ads, photo campaigns, theatre and Tv:
“That’s right. I’ve also just finished a rather complex film called ‘Beyond Love’ by Silvio Nacucchi, about friendship, homosexuality and the whole new way people communicate these days via chat lines etc., and in which I play a gay guy. It was a real test for me and it has left its mark as well as enriched me personally. The film has a good chance of being shown in Berlin and has already been bought by a big distributor”.
These days we’re seeing changes in the course of an actor’s career that we couldn’t have imagined before; from television, to theatre and to the cinema. Your generation typifies this new multi-tasking actor:
“One of my great teachers once said it was as difficult to be credible in one minute, (the time it takes for an advert), as it is to be in 2 hours of film. An actor’s life is about soul and reasoning, heart and method, fantasy and commitment. Acting encompasses the whole emotional range – it’s an emotional journey which begins on an intimate level but then progresses through the thousands of variations in human nature. This is the reason I consider doing advertising as an important part of my work. On my journey I’ve done many important ads with some excellent directors. From Mantovani, who directed me in the Longines ad with kate Winslet, to Vodafone, Toyota, Replay, Moment, Coca Cola and Peroni, (directed by Gabriele Mucchino). An advert is a microcosm – like a segment of a whole but more concentrated”.
An actor’s suitcase is always handy. You divide your time between Milan and Rome, and work commitments, auditions and training:
“I started early because in this career you can’t stop. The first six months in Milan was a nightmare, but I overcame my initial shyness and fears through my love of acting. These anxieties were a result of coming from a very small town, but I also have to thank my parents for being close, their pushing me and above all for teaching me the value of sacrifice”.
Feet planted on the ground, eyes to the stars. How important are your roots?
“They’re vital. I have a brother I’m really close to, and I still have both my grandmas and even a great grandma that I like to fuss over. I have friends back there and go back as much as possible. My dogs are there too as well as the walks I like to take, the sport that I love and regularly practice, and my saxophone. It’s a way of revitalising myself and getting inspiration. I was at my parents’ for Christmas and New Year. I didn’t need anything else”.
Is there room for anything else in your life?
“On my wish list I’d like to make a film with Pupi Avate, as well as do some kind of production with an Umbrian director and Umbrian actors. My dreams are my goals. As for ‘anything else’, balance is essential. Commitments, travelling and awkward working hours often make it difficult to reconcile a private life with this career. Unfortunately, the people who pay the price for this are those who don’t share your life’s passion”.