Nicole Grimaudo is beautiful. Not just like most Italian women are, but she glows in a movie star sort of way. When I meet her she is wearing simple clothes and is almost make up free. She is warm and eager to open about her latest film Loose Cannons, which opens in the UK this month.
Nicole looks relaxed and maintains eye contact throughout the interview, despite the translator. Every now and then a flicker of something naughty crosses her frank expression.
Welcome to London, you had the screening of the film at the London Film Festival in October, how did that go?
Yes it went very well. There has been a very good reaction from the audience.
Before this film you’ve done quite a lot of TV work, how does that differ from doing film?
On television, I look smaller! It’s all about dimension.
Do you like seeing yourself on the big screen?
Yes. No it’s different because in a film you have more time to dedicate yourself to the character, while in television you have less time to study, to prepare the character, but I’ve learnt how to become more efficient in delivering the character that I need to portray.
What was it that drew you to your character in Loose Cannons?
I really liked the idea of being part of a love story, which isn’t the usual man and woman romantic story. This is a deeper relationship of friendship between the characters, it’s a long lasting relationship.
Your character in the film, Alba is quite hard to pin down, how would you describe her?
She is an ambiguous character, she’s scared and probably not able to love.
What do you think she wanted from the relationship with Tommaso?
Sex! No, for Alba, Tommaso is the ideal man, probably because she already knows she can not have him and women love impossible love, what they can not have.
At the end of the film, how is the relationship between Alba and Tommaso left?
They help each other because Alba thinks that Tommaso realises that she can love, truly love and she has felt like a beautiful woman again and Tommaso had the chance to feel a very strong feeling again, a strange feeling for a woman.
The director Ferzan Ozpetek likes to use improvisation, was there any in this film?
Almost all the scenes were improvised.
What was that like to film?
There was a very strong knowledge and understanding of the character, so that when it is done that way we can improvise. And you need to have faith in what is created on set while filming, to let yourself go.
How long did filming go on for?
Two and half months
Did everyone move to Lecce for filming?
Everybody went there, it was necessary to become your character and being with all the actors all the time, it was easier in a way.
The actor who played Tommaso is very good looking…
Yes he is but everyone in the film is but you can’t fall in love with all the actors all the time, it would be too complicated.
Did you go to a pasta factory while you were there to get into the role?
Yes we went to the factory and we ate a lot of pasta, especially the director.
It was one of the first times the director, Ozpetek, chose to film outside of Rome, why do you think he felt this story had to be told elsewhere?
Because he needed a provisional setting rather than a big city, being a homosexual in a small town like Lecce, would immediately be known by everybody.
So, coming out as gay would be as huge as deal as it is portrayed in the film?
Do you think the film is making a point about the attitude of a place like Lecce?
It’s not just only making a point, the movie laughs at the reactions, what happens. It is also tender , as it portrays the difficulties that Tommaso’s father has in understanding the homosexuality of his son, so it’s just not criticising, it is an attempt to make it more human.
What was the reception of the film in Italy like?
Very good, it helped a lot of young people start to talk about it or coming out.
How important is it to you that the film does well in England?
It’s a great privilege that we were chosen to be part of the [London Film] festival. In Europe it is already a success. It’s good that Italian cinema is starting to become alive again, outside Italy.
Yes, it’s quite different to a lot of Italian films because it really mixes two genres.
It’s a characteristic that Italian movies had in the sixties. It’s a characteristic that they had, being able to be a comedy but at the same time they are a tragedy, they make you laugh and cry at the same time.
Is it unlike any other films you have been in in the past?
Yes because of the director Ferzan, he’s unique within the Italian panorama and he has his own view on making movies. He cares about actors a lot.
Are you like your character in any way in real life?
Fortunately no, I’m more extrovert. I prefer to suffer and love, than not love at all, rather than holding back.
Did you enjoy the driving scenes in the film?
Yes I was really looking forward to filming then. The actor who plays Tommaso was pretty afraid and luckily they had insurance. The car was wonderful.
You started acting at quite a young age, what is it that made you want to carry on?
This is becoming like a psychoanalyst session!
I’m just interested because a lot of American actress start young and then go off the rails and you seem to keep making good decisions.
I have a very supportive family. Outside of work I have has a very different kind of life, I don’t always need to be in cinema and film.
You’ve done theatre , TV and film, what’s next?
I would like to be a director of photography because you have the visual quality of the movie in your hand
And finally what have you got coming up?
In February there is a comedy that is going to be released, a very funny one , it is a very Italian picture and maybe we’ll come back to London.
We hope she does! To read a review of Loose Cannons, click here.
Loose Cannons will be released in UK cinemas on December 17th, 2010.