Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Conversation with Neapolitan Actress Franca Abategiovanni

Franca Abategiovanni 
"Naples, more than inspires me, is a part of me."

Passionate words from a Neapolitan actress whose origins are at the very foundation of her work.

Born in Ercolano, a comune located in Naples, Franca Abategiovanni began acting in theater when she was a young girl. Those beginnings led her to a successful career in film, which gives her the freedom to return every so often to her first love-theater.

She charmed and humored American audiences earlier this year as a strong-willed mother in Rupert Evertt's The Happy Prince. A British biographical story of the tragic last days of Oscar Wilde, the film premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival and is currently in Italian theaters.

I recently spoke with Franca Abategiovanni about her diverse roles and her love of her hometown of Naples. Our interview was done in Italian, so both versions are included.

When did your discover this desire to be an actress?
Theater has always been in my life. As a child I was fascinated by the shows in which my sister performed with an amateur company, and I too tried my hand with other children to write texts. Then I made the decision to act, with great effort and no regrets ever. I am still choosing it every day.

Quando era nata questo desidero di recitare?
Il teatro c'è sempre stato nella mia vita. Da piccola ero affascinata dagli spettacoli in cui mia sorella recitava con una compagnia amatoriale, e  anch'io mi cimentavo con gli altri bambini a mettere in scena testi scritti da noi, poi da grande l'ho scelto, con grandi sforzi senza mai nessun rimpianto scegliendolo tutti i giorni.

Do your Neapolitan origins and your great city of Napoli inspire you as an artist?
Naples, more than inspires me, is a part of me. It is the language of my soul, and my every thought. I am that essence. Naples is in my DNA.

Le tue origini napoletane e la tua grande città del Napoli ti ispirano come artista?
Napoli, più che ispirarmi, fa parte di me   è la mia anima la mia lingua, il mio pensiero. Io sono quell'essenza, Napoli  è nel  il mio DNA.

As you’ve worked in theater, television and cinema. Do you have a preference?
Cinema has always fascinated me. It's like a container of emotions where I can mirror myself. So I admit that in this period of my life, I am more attracted to the cinema.

Come hai lavorato in teatro, televisione e cinema. Hai un preferito?
Il cinema mi ha sempre affascinato un contenitore di emozioni dove potersi specchiare… ammetto  che in questo periodo della mia vita sono attratta maggiormente dal cinema.

I loved Un paese quasi perfetto and I interviewed Massimo Gaudioso about his experience there. Tell me about your role..
In Massimo Gaudioso's film Un paese quasi perfetto, I played the role of the mayor's wife. I have to say that it was so much fun shooting in that town in Basilicata, such a beautiful and cozy place. Working with Massimo and the actors was really a pleasure.

Ho amato Un paese quasi perfetto e ho intervistato Massimo Gaudioso sulla sua esperienza lì. Parlami del tuo ruolo e la tua esperienza sul set..
Nel film "Un paese quasi perfetto" di Massimo Gaudioso, il mio ruolo era la moglie del sindaco del paese, devo dire che mi sono molto divertita a girare in quei posti la Basilicata è bellissima ed accogliente, lavorare con Massimo e gli altri attori è stato veramente un piacere.

Tell me about your role in The Happy Prince.
Working with Rupert Everett was a great honor and a great joy for me. He is an extraordinary actor, director and a man of great sensitivity. We shot in towns near Munich and Naples. I play the role of a mother with a very strong temperament, a straightforward populace who does not stop at nothing and nobody, who breaks into a fury in Oscar Wilde's house in search of my son during a licentious party. The scene has a very comical epilogue: only men participate in the party. So his daughter-in-law's honor is safe. His son, Felice, has not betrayed his wife with another woman.

Parlami del tuo ruolo in The Happy Prince.
Lavorare con Rupert Everett è stato per me un grande onore e una grande  gioia Lui è un attore straordinario un regista e un uomo di grande sensibilità. Abbiamo girato in un paese vicino Monaco di Baviera e a Napoli. Io interpreto il ruolo di una  madre dal temperamento molto forte, una popolana schietta che non si ferma davanti a niente e a nessuno, che irrompe come una furia in casa di Oscar Wilde alla ricerca del figlio durante un festino licenzioso. La scena ha un epilogo molto comico: al festino partecipano solo uomini…dunque l' onore di sua nuora è salvo. Suo figlio Felice, non ha tradito la moglie con un 'altra donna.

Franca Abategiovanni recently finished filming a TV drama called La vita promessa (The Promised Life) written by Simona Izzo and directed by Ricky Tognazzi. Slated to air later this year, the film tells the story of a Sicilian family forced to relocate to New York during the mass immigration of the early 20th century.

She is currently on tour in Italy with a show written by her dear friend Cesare Belito. The show, Teresa ZUM ZUM, is directed by her longtime collaborator Nadia Baldi.

Abategiovanni recently finished filming a TV drama called La vita promessa (The Promised Life) written by Simona Izzo and directed by Ricky Tognazzi. Slated to air later this year, the film tells the story of one of many Sicilian families who relocated to New York during the mass immigration of the early 20th century.

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