We’ve seen him in “Doc – Nelle tue mani” and now we can’t wait to see him again in the much anticipated second season of “Summertime,” where he plays Antony Bennati. In the meantime, we’ve had a chat with him, Alberto Malanchino, between his “detective” work of building his characters and an epic while to which many of us can relate, up to the happy place we could take inspiration from.
And explosive energy between his new upcoming acting projects and the desire to fill in the pages of a script.
What’s your first cinema memory?
A worn-out “The Godfather Part II” VHS. It was a movie I used to watch often back home. The first time I saw it I was 5. I was a bit precocious with certain kinds of movies!
You’re among the protagonists of one of the most successful Italian TV series in recent times, “DOC – Nelle tue mani.” What was your first reaction when you read the script? And what was the first question you asked the director and yourself?
I felt like we were about to film something unique. The medical genre in Italy has always been a big gamble because it’s not very popular in its Italian format. However, the audience trusted us and we’re very thankful for that. I don’t remember what I told Jan and Ciro! I asked too many questions! I had this constant thought in my head: “How can I use all these medical terms without sounding like a robot?”.
“I felt like we were about to film something unique.”
In “DOC” you play Gabriel Kidane, a trainee doctor. How did you manage to empathize with a character who has a passion and a job that are so far from yours? Is there something of you in him, deep down?
Gabriel’s passion for medicine is similar to mine for acting. This was our point of contact. I studied the behavior of real doctors in a hospital and I have to thank Jan for this, who gave us the possibility to do some training at the Policlinico Gemelli in Rome, under the guidance of Doctor Barbara Fossati. All the questions an actor could ask themselves while studying a character came from there.
What were the difficulties and challenges of playing your character and how did you handle and overcome them?
Gabriel has a very difficult background story, a past linked to the tortures he faced in Libya. To concretely build his background was quite hard because it’s not something you can “act” in a scene if you haven’t directly experienced it, you have to play sideways with your character. You’re like a detective who needs to find all the missing pieces to complete the puzzle. The missing piece will come to you if it’s supported by all the rest.
“You’re like a detective who needs to find all the missing pieces to complete the puzzle.”
How did you build your relationship with the rest of the cast? Did you take home with you any new lesson or secret after you finished filming?
We all connected immediately. The training we did together at the hospital was very useful for us to empathize with each other. I took home with me lots of lessons. I like “stealing” from my colleagues! Secrets? Lots of them… but they’re secret!
How would you describe “DOC – Nelle tue mani” in one word?
One of the latest projects you’re involved in is the Netflix TV series “Summertime,” where you play Anthony, Summer and Blue’s dad. What was the experience on this new set like? And what about your approach to a character who’s a father? We know you can’t unveil too many details, but how is your character evolving in season 2?
To work for a platform like Netflix is thrilling. You have the chance to have your work recognized beyond the Italian borders, and this has been possible for only a few years. Anthony was a nice challenge. It was important to find some personal analogous figures who could work well for him who’s a father of two teenage daughters! The feedback on the characters has been positive, and I’m happy about it. You’re right, I can’t unveil much… unfortunately! But I promise there will be some nice surprises!
Do the productions destined to huge platforms like Netflix involve any additional or different challenges compared to the other projects you took part in?
To me, the challenge stays the same. To do my job in the best way I can. It doesn’t matter if it is in a theater in front of 10 people or through a platform with a billion users.
You’ve also worked in the theater field with some brilliant directors such as Moni Ovadia and Silvio Peroni. TV series and theater: how does your approach to these two different acting experiences change?
What changes is the technique, basically.
Cinema gives you the possibility to say a lot while doing very little. The theater is a whole other story. It’s not a mathematical rule, obviously. The core, however, is always the same.
In the movie “Easy Living” by the Miyakawa brothers, you play an “out-of-the-box” character, a migrant with sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt who’s called Elvis Presley, and deconstructs the stereotype of the migrant imprinted in our collective imagination. What’s the role of cinema, in your opinion, in the process of demolition of old ideas and taboos about migration and prejudice?
He’s called just Elvis, without Presley! The name is an homage to real Elvis, anyway. Cinema, like all arts, has a key role. It has/We have the task to open up debates about all topics. This seems to be the foundation of a civilized society. Stereotypes are hard to kill, but I have faith in the work we’re doing as a generation.