Guglielmo Poggi: “We must always aim for the stars”

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Guglielmo Poggi he closed the call with a wish. “I don’t know if it’s possible to translate all this into one interview. I’m sorry, I tend to logorrhea ». A laugh, sincere, round, to seal an hour or more of words. Netflix, Luna Park, Gigi Proietti, the social responsibility of an actor, stardom and other isms, so great as to escape any classification. Poggi, who turned thirty in April, spoke and spoke, and spoke again. But in the words there has never been, ever once, any hint of the narcissistic delusion that takes so many.

«I understand that appearing is necessary: ​​an obligatory passage for anyone who wants or has to affirm their existence. My schoolmates realized that I was an actor only when I changed my profile picture on Facebook: a red carpet in Venice. I had already trod important stages, but the fashion show, for some, is the point of arrival. Today, we can no longer afford it ». Not after two years of “That Stuff There”. He called it Covid-19 with its waste: loneliness, lockdown, inevitable introspection and a job that “saved me”. Because, while the world was silent, forced into the house, Poggi turned Luna Park, Netflix series online from September 30th. The show, the story of a disappearance and a meeting willed by fate, brought the Sixties back to the surface, just as Rome and Italy experienced them.

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Let’s start from the end. The series ends abruptly. Will there be a second season?
“I hope so, and I hope so very much. A lot, of course, depends on what happens after September 30, but Luna Park has a very high growth margin. The level of acting, Paolo Calabresi, Tommaso Ragno, the costumes: it would be a pity that such extraordinary ingredients were wasted ».

In the show, you are Gigi Gabrielli, the son of wealthy entrepreneurs who decided to work in the show: that show that still arouses nostalgia today. How did you prepare?
“First of all, I locked myself up at home and studied. The Sixties are pervaded by a profound dualism: we were emerging from a war, a human atrocity, to move towards modernization. They were the forerunners, on a socio-cultural level, of what would happen next: physically and linguistically, the approach remained traditional, but there was a desire to dance and have fun and go to the cinema, to chase away the silence of the previous fifteen years ” .

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Without wishing to make risky comparisons, we are experiencing a similar dualism today, with the pandemic.
“And we shot in lockdown, so we lived the ambiguity of the health emergency to the full”.

How?
«Every day, they picked us up from home to catapult us to the Luna Park: real rides, built for the occasion, voices, noises, fun. We had to play characters who wanted to live and cut off their life: to dance and stamp their feet and make noise. I came from a depressive climate, but I had to be the Falstaff, a fool Shakespearean. In that moment, working saved my life ».

Gigi Gabrielli, however, is a jester only in appearance.
«Gigi is someone who wants to follow the Cinecittà flow, the twist. He is blinded by the show, because dramaturgically it represents the silence and emptiness that existed. He has an unstoppable desire for casino, the need to be vital in every occasion. Gigi is the prototype of a Roman world sordiana, and for me it was one of the most stimulating challenges ever ».

It is a responsibility. Have you wondered how your interpretation of that way of doing show will be received?
“Yes, always. In part, I had to invent: give life to the sixties that were understandable by a kid of today. On the other hand, I had to rediscover a true code, which some viewers have experienced. For my part, I tried – and it was a joy – to talk to the last ones I know who were twenty then ”.

And who are the latter?
«The relatives of the grandparents, those who still speak to you a round Roman, who no longer exists. My father is from ’53, my mother from ’59. They were children in the sixties, but they remember what I, we tell. My mother jumped in her chair when I showed her the beginning of the series, the Mondadori Gialli. It is part of his imagination, it is his world ».

And was it really better how you tell it and regret it?
«Not necessarily, but it is important to recognize that in those years something unrepeatable from the point of view of the show was done. And it’s not bad, you know, to talk about a different society, in which it was hard to kiss each other ».

She seems nostalgic too …
“Let’s say that, if these two years have taught us anything, it is that more than vaccines we need a reasoning on consumption, which is well told also in Luna Park, where Gigi comes into the world to make up for the lack of a missing son ».

Explain.
«Staying locked in the house, without the possibility of doing otherwise, forced us to face reality: an apartment that turned out to be too small, a relationship that – if fully lived – has not been able to bring joy, too many children. In a nutshell, the awareness of having masked the void behind something else, a push towards consumerism “.

Is it against capitalism?
“I am the grandson of a grandmother who was on the Gothic Line, where the resistance was made. My grandmother walked in high heels to distract the German soldiers. I come from an idea of ​​non-consumption, but in lockdown I realized that I was the son of an unbridled capitalism, where capitalism is culture before politics or economy ».

And how did he take this epiphany?
“I realized that I have to start over on some things that affect my life. You can’t always fill the void. What’s the use, then? I wanted to read the pandemic as an invitation to consider that certain things are not discounted or free just because they can be paid in installments. I wanted to learn a different time, accept the silence that Gigi Gabrielli filled with jokes ».

Did he really succeed?
“I’m trying. We should all have done it. We had the opportunity to stay at home to look and understand the void, instead we went out on the balconies to sing. Now, we have no more alibis, though. And I say it as an actor ».

What do you mean by this?
«That the era of the little film and the cute series is over: Michelangelo adolescence, you have to aim for the stars. We have to work with the idea of ​​making a masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. As actors, we have a duty to make the audience forget how unpleasant it is to be in the world right now. And enough of the stardom: we should remember that, before the red carpet shows, we were gods poracci who went from court to court to ask to be able to cheer other people “.

An unpopular memory, his.
“But it’s absurd to forget about it. I was lucky enough to have a teacher like Gigi Proietti, to whom I wanted to dedicate Luna Park. He taught me that the only thing that matters is the public, the popular choice. Gigi was fine just seeing others feel good. And this is a reasoning that works in every area: sex, food, acting. Still, it broke. We have become self-referential, we play it and sing it there ».

And what is “popular” is automatically passed off as bass.
«Criticism also leveled at Gigi Proietti. But what else should he have done but choose the popular way? I don’t want to make films just to please four critics, the only ones who would then come to see me. I want to entertain those who break their backs all day and, in the evening, choose to spend their money in the cinema or in the theater for me ».

And the criticisms of the critics do not weigh on you?
«I keep them jealously. I kept the newspapers that devastated me, when the film with Sergio Castellitto (The handyman, ed). I know it may sound rhetorical, but I really believe that forgetting to be vehicles of other people’s catharsis and enjoyment, especially in the light of the last two years, is an own goal that my category cannot afford. We need a cultural revolution: if we want to survive, we must remember that we work to bring a smile to people who otherwise would risk going crazy, not to be photographed in sequins and glitter ».

And what will you do, Michelangelo, to honor this mission of yours?
«I’m about to start something funny with Alessio Maria Federici, but I’m not authorized to talk about it. Then, I read a script, and I can say this, that every two minutes made me laugh heartily. I said to myself: “Ok, this is for me”. I will do it, and I hope soon to be able to start again with the theater as well. I’ve been waiting for two years. ‘

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