I kept running into him, literally, at the Venice Film Festival, this handsome, super talented actor that I’d seen in eight of his dozens of movies. The sexy superstar from La Doppia Ora, one of my recent favorites, and Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere was standing right next to me after the screening of his new movie with Silvio Orlando, Missione di Pace, and all I could manage to get out of my mouth was a weak, “Bravo”. But it seemed strange; he’d walked right toward me and just stood there beside me, staring. When I was chatting with a cab driver in Milan I found out what might have been the reason: he’s practically blind.
Suffering from what I’m guessing is macular degeneration (he says he can’t see looking at things straight on), he has overcome not only this, but a pretty pronounced stammer that you can hear when he’s interviewed, but not when he’s acting (or apparently when he’s speaking French and English). Acting has “saved his life”, he says, and he realized “when I was play-acting, or assuming some sort of other role in order to tell things, then it all flowed.”
And he’s an ex-fat guy; is he an inspiration,or what? A formerly obese, blind man who stutters; could a person face any more obstacles than that? And now he’s an actual sex symbol that is starring in some of the best movies to come out of Italy, or anywhere. New York Magazine called his performance in Vincere “one of 2010’s 25 best performances that won’t win oscars”.
I read in an interview that he said that people are always coming up to him and saying, “I love you!” and he wonders, “What is it that they love about me?” Well, Filippo, if you are googling yourself and happen upon this blog, I’ll tell you.
I love you because you are so intense that I can not take my eyes off you when you are on the screen – forget all the other actors, it’s just you up there. You’re so good-looking, but it is obvious that you don’t care about looking bad, or scary, or even evil for a role. You were the shy security guard in La Doppia Ora, the creepy loner in Quando La Notte, the tyrannical fascist in Vincere, and the sniveling thug in Vallanzasca – Gli angeli del male, and you never seem wrong for any role. I hope America gets to see Missione di Pace, because you were hilarious – is there anything you can’t do?
I’m slapping up some trailers from his movies so you can take a look at some of his work – get to know him America. He’s a powerful presence and he’s hot.
From La Doppia Ora:
And a couple of glimpses of him in Vallanzasca – Gli angeli del male: