When we met Alessio Lapice, one thing was immediately clear to us: he is an intense, strong and ambitious person. His passion for acting and his way of expressing it overwhelmed us and, given the release of “Romulus & Remus – The first King” in January, we had a chance to investigate every aspect of it: between difficulties and beauty.
Cinema, TV Series and Short Films, Alessio doesn’t preclude anything to himself: every experience, every director leaves you with something. In 2017 he made his first appearance in the Venice Lido, on the occasion of the 74th International Film Festival to present “Nato a Casal di Principe”, while this year, in the role of Romulus and alongside Alessandro Borghi in the role of Remo, he brought us back to the origin of our history and of our language with “Romulus & Remus – The first King” directed by Matteo Rovere and all filmed in protolatino. A movie that has earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Nastri d’Argento.
We will soon find him on television with “Le Avventure di Imma“, where he plays the role of a men who moves from the countryside to the city and witnesses the collision of his innocence with a reality he has never experienced before – a role that Alessio has faced as something completely new compared to his previous roles, exploiting the art of observation as he always does.
What made you fall in love with cinema?
For me it has been a journey, it’s something you discover as if you were discovering the layers of human beings, of yourself, it’s a bit like discovering yourself step by step. Maybe this is the thing that made me fall in love, the fact of finding myself every time on a new path, busy in a new journey, with features I didn’t know before. This discovery and the opportunity to feed your own curiosity are the most beautiful things that this job can give you.
Do you remember your very first day on set?
I remember getting in and staring at everybody, there were always people running back and forth, non-stop, in these corridors of a 19th century small Villa where we were filming, everyone was running with their costumes on. I would stay hidden behind a doorjamb because I wanted to understand what was going on, who those people were since in my mind I was expecting to see the director and the actors only. I was concentrated, I didn’t talk much and I remember my gaze focused on everyone else.
“For me it has been a journey, it’s something you discover…”
It’s been a few months since the release of “Romulus & Remus: The First King,” but it must have been a crazy experience. What did it leave you with?
In my line of work, it was the best thing I could do, it’s all I’d imagined doing before starting to work as an actor: the construction, the creation, the characters, how to work on the body, on physiognomy and on the story. It takes you to another world.
This kind of creation is what an actor hopes for and imagines when s/he starts out.
On a physical level, preparation, language: which was the most difficult thing to deal with?
There was me on one side and then there was Romulus, the “Alessio” who was in between was the one getting “beat up” by everyone, he had to try to put together these two people. For sure, the physical part has been intense: a strict diet, we had very little sleep, maybe 5 hours per night, 4 hours of makeup every morning, mud, cold. Plus, you have to try to be present in all of that, you had to pay attention every second, because we had these “choreographies” to perform, like turning around, making some moves, but it’s not just you, you have to meet the others’ moves. There was also a great deal of trust in each other, we were fighting with swords and if they hit you, it was not so pleasant. We were a very close group; we shared some extreme nights.
The first battle was crazy, we were in a huge sulfur quarry, which they had filled with water, mud and small stones and they threw us there. Then there was a scene, in the movie, where I was supposed to pass out and I had to lie in water, it was very cold with the drone flying above and moving the air and I had “not to breathe.” Then you go home and eat your plain salad [laughs].
All of this is part of a journey that taught me a lot. I have found the physical preparation much more challenging than the linguistic one, even though everybody asks me about Latin, which was an initial test, anyway.
“There was me on one side and then there was Romulus, the “Alessio” who was in between was the one getting “beat up” by everyone“.
In which language would you like to act now?
I would love to film in Spanish, it’s a language I really like. I love Spanish people, Spain and Spanish. I would also like to be part of other projects in English.
What can you tell us about your role in the TV Series “Le avventure di Imma?”
It’s a completely different character from what I’ve been doing recently. He is a much more immature, naive, clean character, who comes from the countryside of Southern Italy, he is pure, a green lawn. When he moves to the city, he meets a class of human beings that is different from him and he will have to learn and grow up. The series is set in Basilicata and in Rome. It’s about these thrillers by Mariolina Venezia in which every episode corresponds to a new case. It was directed by Francesco Amato and what’s nice about it is that everything is told very vividly, he didn’t want it to be the same old thriller with its typical characters. It’s a series full of nuances.
I enjoyed being part of it also because it was something different to do nowadays, it looks like this character is a child in some ways.
You have just fished filming a short movie, “Rising Heartbeats,” in English, what can you tell us about it?
It was amazing. Short. I had never done something like that in such a short time: even if it was only a week, it felt very long, intense, because it’s all about the senses. It tells the story of a new society were goals have taken over and everybody has forgotten who they were, and they all become some sort of robots. Also, my character has deleted his past life to be who is now. Then, by taking a substance, he finds out about his past life and realizes he wasn’t living anymore, he finds out he can rediscover himself, and this way he can feel his heartbeat again.
What kind of advice would you give to the aspiring actors who are starting out?
I believe that it can be helpful to think that what you do directs your possibilities and your life. What surrounds you is a stage of things and people that you see and observe, but it shall never influence what you do, what you do is yours, and you are the only one there. Rather, what is around you can be a mirror of creativity and not of judgment. We should all believe in what surrounds us, as if it were part of us. Sometimes we tend to see the negative side of things and let it influence what we do, but what you do will always be only yours.
“What surrounds you is a stage of things and people that you see and observe, but it shall never influence what you do, what you do is yours, and you are the only one there. “.
Is there an actor or director with whom you would like to work in particular?
Every director I worked with left me with something I didn’t know before. There are so many directors I would like to work with, but I remember a movie I saw on the big screen when I was a kid, I was 10 years old. It’s called “Malena” by Giuseppe Tornatore and I remember the scene in which they cut this woman’s hair in the middle of a square, in a brutal way, it remained imprinted on me. So I would say, Tornatore.
An actor? Matthew McConaughey.
An epic fail on the job?
During the rehearsals of “Romulus & Remus: The First King,” I had to slap one of the stunts. First to the right and then to the left, but I did it wrong, I did it the other way around, I slapped his left cheek first and then his right one, so he remained still. He looked at me straight in the eye, his face was red, a tear came out, he didn’t breathe. I remember feeling so guilty, I bought him a snack, a coffee. I will never forget this moment; everyone was silent and then they turned around. Then, of course, these kind of things can happen in such a set.
“Every director I worked with left me with something I didn’t know before. “
Do you write? Or would you like to write or direct something in the future?
I love writing. I don’t know if and when I will decide to use some things that I have written. As for directing, I find it a beautiful thing, fascinating, very strong. I don’t know if I can tell you today if I will direct, I should think about it, but I like it so much. These things are all related in the end. I don’t like the idea of sitting down right now, but I would love to.
A film or TV series that you have recently enjoyed and that has stayed with you in some way?
I’ve recently seen “Room”. What a film. I felt embarrassed and I kept thinking, “these people made a film, the rest of the world has never made one before.” It’s one of the best films in the world to me – the script is incredible, so intense. Another film I really liked is “Capernaum:” it tells the story of a refugee child who manages to escape from the refugee camp, plus it is a Libyan film shot in Libya: it is more a miracle than a movie!
“As for directing, I find it a beautiful thing, fascinating, very strong.”
And what about TV Series?
Among TV series, I really like “Peaky Blinders,” “Stranger Things,” “The Paper House.” I also loved “Élite,” it deals with many important issues and it is very current. Then “Ozark” is crazy, it’s a script-manual. You watch “Ozark” and you learn a lot. It might not be visually explosive, but the characters are perfect, they have precise goals, it is incredible: they are human beings. So, I choose “Ozark”!
Your next projects??
It’s too soon to talk about them, but they’re coming up!
Photos & Video by Johnny Carrano.
Makeup & Hair by Chantal Ciaffardini.
Styling by Sara Castelli Gattinara.
Thanks to Factory4 Pr.
Look 1: Total Look Trussardi.
Look 2: Total Look Missoni.
Look 3: Total Look Missoni.
Look 4: Fay Coat.