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They didn’t break my heart

This article is published in number 44 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until November 2, 2021.

As much Michele Rech appears introverted and solitary as his own alter ego with thick eyebrows Zerocalcare is desired and acclaimed. For a strange twist of fate – but also talent and, perhaps, a hidden desire that escapes the superficial gaze – this thirty-seven year old from Rebibbia found himself giving voice to the insecurities and anger of an entire generation. He did so through comics published in newspapers, which arrived on TV and became films. And now episodes of an animated series.

On November 17th, it will be released on Netflix Tear off along the edges, in which we find many of the characters of his imagination. How do you live the expectation of the fans?

“With horror. I don’t sleep there ».

What were the first feedback that you received after the preview at the Rome Film Fest?

«Good in the room. Then in the evening, when I got home, I stayed until half past five in the morning watching the comments on the internet ».

Why did he do it?

«I can’t do otherwise. I’m happy, because I haven’t found any negative ones. I can be cautiously optimistic ».

Valerio Mastandrea lends his voice to the Armadillo. What was it like working with him?

“It has always been implied between us that the moment I did this, that part was going to happen to him. There was no need to convince him: Valerio, in my life, is the Armadillo ».

Is it his conscience?

“The voice of evil conscience (laughs, ed). He is older than me, but he comes from a world similar to mine, so he often gives me advice. His interpretation worked very well: Valerio is incapable of doing something as he is told, he added and improvised to every line ».

In her stories she is always

The protagonist. Have you ever thought about telling anything else?

“I tried, but I don’t think I know how to tell what I haven’t felt on my skin.”

How do you experience the perception that others have of you?

“It’s curious to meet people who know me more than I know them. Sometimes there is a lack of awareness that there are a lot of other parts of my life that I don’t feed to the public. Which I keep. I don’t like to talk about my sentimental affairs and then someone thinks that part doesn’t exist. It’s simply something I want to keep out of the comics ”.

How is the resumption of events open to the public going?

“I felt like it. But, having been blocked for two years, there is now a lot to catch up. And it’s physically heavy ».

Then you are not one to hold back when it comes to meeting readers …

“Now less than ever. If I start doing it people will say: “‘Mo he made money with Netflix ”. So I am forced to give my best ».

In the series he also talks about the myth of the alpha male and how a similar narrative is toxic for everyone. Have you noticed any changes in the treatment of these issues in recent years?

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