The actor: «My house is all the stages. Once I was acting in Vienna with Carlo Buccirosso and the hall came down for the applause. Working with Eduardo? In the pauses it struck me. At the Feste dell’Unità he had to sell frozen squid as fresh “
The first thing that characterizes Vincenzo Salemme is kindness, welcome, hospitality. Then comes everything else, including talent. He does not say it but it is understood that he is claiming his right to normality. The antidivism of an actor is found in his house: a few photos of his successes, the “I” kept in the drawer. He has a sense of gratitude and true gratitude, at the end of his show, Neapolitan? And make me a pizza! when he asks to take a selfie with the audience, the actors on stage and the audience behind him.
Why does he take the selfie?
«Because I owe the success, as happens to a few actors, to them. I did not have, let’s say institutional, recognition. After the closures of the pandemic I found the spectators and I was scared. I said to myself: isn’t it that they have forgotten about me? At the debut of the tour I had to hold back tears. And then, sitting in a mask for two hours and laughing, it’s not easy ».
Because he says the other award is missing … He has made 12 films, never won a David?
“Never. There is no consideration of what I do, national criticism never comes to see me. But I’m not complaining, I’m happy and satisfied. I’m sorry not so much for myself, but for those who leave the house and go to the theater; I’m sorry for the Italian panorama ».
Why does this happen?
“Maybe it’s because I don’t look like anyone and it’s hard to label myself. Sometimes they tell me: did you act with Eduardo De Filippo, with Nanni Moretti, and then do you do these things in the theater? But I needed Eduardo’s teachings to do these things. The actor first of all has the duty to live. You have to be authentic. Live and love to the fullest. And all this ends up on stage ».
How was Edoardo?
“I acted in three of your comedies on TV. Despite his austerity and stern appearance, he was a simple man. In the pauses it struck me. I stayed there to see if he was telling me anything. You know, he said to me, why does he come to see all these people? They wait for me to die. So they can tell: I saw him die. Theater is that, it is the moment in which it arrives, it is neither before nor after ».
In his show he takes on the commonplaces about Naples, pizza, coffee that must be hot, bag snatches …
“There is also a cliché that concerns me. When they introduce me on TV they say: Neapolitan comedian. But they don’t say that about a Milanese. Of the Neapolitan, on the other hand, yes ».
He was born in Bacoli.
«Mother elementary school teacher, father lawyer. In Naples I went to the Umberto high school. Thirty kilometers, another world. I felt out of place. Being provincial in the 1970s was different. Today there is the Internet … What if they made fun of me? Well yes, in Bacoli we talk in chant, u instead of o, ‘bread’, women “.
What was he like?
«I was and am a loner. I changed groups. Always nomadic, never sedentary. In Bacoli I used to go to my great-uncle’s cinema. On weekdays it was me, a deaf-mute, a Down boy and Mimmotto ‘or monster, named after an accident. At the time, there was no respect for diversity. I grew up with peplum, Maciste, Ursus, the first westerns, rubbish … ».
In Naples he sold fish at the Unity Festivals.
«As a boy I had to sell frozen squid for fresh, at a thousand lire. I disagreed. I was answered by a party leader: what do you care, it’s a political price … I objected: but we are the truth. And he: if you tell him the truth, they won’t buy fish anymore. Some reflections on the left should be made ».
When did you start acting?
“In elementary school the nuns had a play for the bishop, I liked the stage, I could show myself as I was not in reality. I had a lot of tics. For example, after five meters I turned around on myself. In order not to worry my mother, I would turn around and pretend to greet her. I was acting to be accepted. It’s something that sticks with you. In second high school I acted Naples millionaire, a girl was a friend of Sergio Solli who worked with Eduardo and made me do a more professional show with Marisa Laurito. Then another with Tato Russo. I was 17. At 19, Eduardo needed extras and he gave me two lines for the actor’s pay. He saw me so skinny that he thought I didn’t have the money for food. ‘
“He met Monica Vitti thanks to Eduardo …
Era The cylinder. In the dark, with her back to everyone, she was right in front of me, in black stockings. I was stunned. She said to me: do you know why you will become a great actor? Because when you act you don’t have tics. ”
You act for the bourgeoisie, to which you belong.
“No, I consider myself a petty bourgeois. The most beautiful bourgeoisie is the Milanese one: enlightened. In Naples it is feudal, more material; in Rome there is the belly of the bourgeoisie ».
But is there an audience that makes you feel at home?
«My house is all the stages. Once I was acting in Vienna with Carlo Buccirosso and the hall came down for the applause. Maurizio Casagrande said: but these don’t understand anything, how can they laugh? ».
What are the other clichés?
«In Naples we are the ones who want to make things that belong to us immortal. The pizza, the mozzarella. Or the pagan relationship with San Gennaro. In Turin a lady told me: I don’t understand who is afraid of going to Naples. Just go out without putting on your watch. She complimented me and she was racist without realizing it. “
What does Pulcinella represent?
«I dreamed of it. I was sitting, it appeared from above, all a stain of blood that rose, rose and became a white stain. And I became Pulcinella. I wrote for the theater to overcome my fears and represent my ghosts. The terror, as I said before, of not being accepted, of being abandoned. It is something that was born when I was a sleepwalker child, I would get up at night and talk backwards ».
It seems to have a beautiful dream universe.
«Fellini, the prosperous women …».
Did you ever go to analysis?
«Psychologists, psychiatrists. Freudians, Jungians, I’ve tried them all. The Freudian used to say that it was the inability to be alone, it is true, it is my fault “.
He appeared in three Nanni Moretti films.
«After seeing me at the theater he said to me: why don’t you come and visit me on the set? She was spinning Sweet dreamshe gave me two scenes. Then there were White And The mass is overwhere I am a terrorist. We were in confidence, between an omelette with macaroni that was being prepared at my house and a swim. But it wasn’t such a close friendship. I don’t think he loved me very much as an actor. “
He is sometimes a victim of himself.
«It is very competitive. At table football, Nanni also quarreled with the children ».
What was it like working with Fabio Fazio?
«We went to the imprint, I went into the studio when the program had already begun, I did what is made fun of. The bizarre thing is that even today, after three years of being gone, people on the street tell me: I saw you yesterday at Fazio’s, you were very strong. Same thing in Stefano De Martino’s program, where I’ve never gone ».
Has cinema paid off?
“Up to a point, maybe I haven’t been able to be myself all the way. In the theater, success is enormous ».
What do you remember about your first film?
“The friend of the heart. Vittorio Cecchi Gori summoned me to Cannes. He had the boat there, he gave me the berth number. I arrived at the port in a half-battered car. I didn’t see anyone. At one point two giants asked me: are you Salemme? They were Vittorio Cecchi Gori’s bodyguards. I was looking for his boat. They make me the gesture to say, this is it. I looked up. She was not a yacht: it was a very exaggerated thing. I thought it was a ferry. ‘
Fantastic. There was Herzigova in that film.
“She was at the height of her beauty, and very nice. Some time later I was in New York, I called her, made an appointment for her at the restaurant where I went every night after the Broadway musicals. She got there before me. The owner looked at me with his eyes outside, for him I had become another person, as if I had been Alain Delon ».
She claims her normality.
“Actors often take themselves too seriously. As if we were to change the world. The universe is 13 billion and 800 thousand years old … The only thing we have is the opportunity to live ».
He is a Rossinian author: she too resorts to self-loans, reuses and re-creates lines taken from her other comedies …
«Acting, however, is evocation, the opposite of music which is mathematics. If she closes her eyes, I imitate Nino Manfredi or Toto and she resents them. Today the voices are all the same. Education can be a big deception. We are all more educated and more ignorant ».
Benigni, Zalone: what would you like of them?
«Of Zalone the ferocious brazenness; Benigni is brilliant in intelligence ».
Benigni has become a statue, a monument, he has marbled.
«I would like the other Benigni to return alongside the shows on Dante and the Constitution, and shoot one of his films. I would like this Benigni and that other Benigni. I miss Massimo Troisi, who unfortunately I didn’t know: he had an almost feminine sweetness, even though he was very masculine. But can these things be said, with the politically correct? ».
What is Naples for you?
“It’s France, Spain, Greece; it is homeless nobility, dusty wealth, cunning without light; it is a harmonious cacophony of sounds and voices of fear. Naples is a lot of stuff, I lose it during the day and find it in a dream ».
But do you eat pizza?
“It’s my favorite dish.”
Favorite pizzeria in Naples?
“And how can I tell him? If I mention a name, the others will kill me ».
May 13, 2022 (change May 13, 2022 | 07:22)
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