He has worn many masks in his career and he will wear many others. Giorgio Tirabassi is the demonstration that under those that the actor must wear there must first be a great interpreter. A multiform artist able to move smoothly between cinema, TV and theater, he has recently directed his first work, “Il grande salto”. We interviewed him in the Prato Film Festival 2019 where he won the award for best actor with the short film “Amethyst” by Alessio Pasqua.
by Francesco Del Grosso, Maria Lucia Tangorra
In what time of your career are you?
I started behind the camera with “Il grande salto” (on cinema since June 15th, edit) and I’d like to think of another one. At the same time, the commitments continue as an interpreter and I cultivate my great passion for music by playing with a band.
What value did you have for taking back a cornerstone like “La commedia di Gaetanaccio”?
It’s a show I saw forty years ago, I followed Gigi Proietti and Luigi Magni (author of the work, edit). Text and songs are wonderful. When I was asked to revive it, I immediately accepted, even with a little unconsciousness because the character is very demanding. I hope I can still take it on tour.
What do you take with you on your long work with Proietti’s company?
It was a real training period, a school in the field as there are none as I was able to observe an artist of that caliber, every evening, in the relationship with the public. You absorb a lot, if you want to learn.
What about the “romanità” has not yet been caught and that you try to make to convey in your shows?
For example, the Roman culture of Magni and Zanazzo or that of Belli. I don’t like much the modern caricature, it is not good for Rome, the Romans or the Roman dialect, that instead is a language that would need to be better known.
In the course of your career have you ever felt the desire to cage yourself in a specific role and how did you control this danger?
Simply I say no and I make very specific choices such as that of never having left Rome for another city because I wanted and I want to cultivate the familiar aspect. I never wanted to sacrifice private life for work. I have been doing this job for almost forty years and I continue to give a great weight to my family. To decide or not to decide to do something has depended so much on this balance that I wanted to give life and career.
The professional procedure, as you mentioned, is made of no. Is there one you wouldn’t mention today?
In 1998 I took part in “La cena” by Ettore Scola, who was very happy with me. Three years later he proposed to join the cast of “Concorrenza sleale”, but at that time I was shooting “Distretto di Polizia” for which I was unable and I was so sorry having had to give up that collaboration.
A part like that of Ardenzi in “Distretto di Polizia”, how much does it take away and how much does it give you?
No doubt it gives great popularity, the one that generally offers television to those who make it. A popularity that also allows you to do a lot of theater and with incredible ease because the audience that loved you on the small screen decides to come and see you even when you act on a stage. On the other hand it takes away from you the possibility of making films, for the long time that requires seriality or because many directors still see those who make many television projects as an actor of series B. In this sense, it’s a sort of ghettoization.
In 1994 you starred in one of the violent films of Italian cinema, “Il branco”. Would you do it again thinking of everything that happens in reality today?
That’s one of the hardest movies I’ve ever been in. We spent two months at night in a forest giving the worst of ourselves. It was an important feature film directed by Marco Risi, based on the novel of the same name by Andrea Carraro, inspired by a thorny affair that actually occurred in the Roman province in 1983, when two German tourists on holiday in Italy were first kidnapped and then raped by a group of young people fools. While I was shooting it, every night I had terrible nightmares. Now if they would ask me to participate in a film like that, I would say no, because I could no longer give the worst of me on stage. When it was presented at the Venice Film Festival it was much criticized. Uma Thurman who was on the jury went away indignant and I understand it because the film showed the point of view of the executioner of one of the most heinous facts of our local crime news.
What responsibility have you felt with projects like “Paolo Borsellino” and “Liberi sognatori: A testa alta – Libero Grassi”?
First of all, credit must be given to those who produced it. Surely it’s a great responsibility, shared with those who projected them and directed them. Bringing to reality people who live on the screen, especially if one takes into account their families, it’s an important and at the same time delicate task to complete. With the fiction on Borsellino, for example, arrived thousands of letters from boys who have chosen to study law after seeing it. When a film, whether for the small or the big screen, manages to move so many consciousnesses, then the pride of having done something of public utility is very great.
What are your next commitments?
I will shoot a fiction in six episodes entitled “Il Nido”, directed by two of the three authors of “Boris”, Giacomo Ciarrapico and Luca Vendruscolo, that will be broadcast in the new Rai Due serial season, starting from autumn 2019. In the series I will take on the role of a civil lawyer, Michele Venturi, accused of corruption, who will choose the former wife’s apartment as a compulsory residence. At the cinema, on the other hand, I’ll be in the cast of the new film by Gabriele Mainetti, “Freaks Out”.
Credits Press Office Prato Film Festival: Carlo Dutto