Dreams of Ambra

There are Italian actors who dream of Hollywood. And then, there is Ambra Angiolini…

words by Emma Caronni images by Luca Babini

There are Italian actors who dream of Hollywood. And then, there is Ambra Angiolini, who hopes to cross the Atlantic with an Italian film in her pocket, finished and (well) done. This is not snobbery or even false modesty. Ambra, 38, eighteen films to date and a recent Nastri d’Argento nomination in 2015 for La Scelta by Michele Placido, is the kind of performer who, if called to choose between teaching a drama course for primary school students or attending a gala evening, has no hesitation at all. You understand this by the enthusiasm with which she talks about the last days of school before the summer holidays and also on how she turned her fan club into a friend club, because «I know the name of every person who watched me on TV, in my movies, at the radio and in the theater… none of them need to worship me», she says. The spotlights of fame, my foot! «I prefer moments of truth». And, indeed, if you ask Ambra what she thinks of Italian cinema, she makes no concessions. «It should regain a bit of pride, believe more strongly in what it delivers, overcome the inferiority complex and stop thinking that the American model is always superior, regardless. After all, we have become international, with a lot of manpower and directors who have been sought after abroad».

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

Someone has been lured, but then hasn’t come back. Could this be because he does not feel quite satisfied and supported at home? The worst reviews regarding The Great Beauty by Paolo Sorrentino, Academy Awarded in 2014, came from Italy. It is in this context, that runs the risk of becoming a place for settlers, must be hard for actors, especially for beginners.
«We are living a curious time: directors are hungry for fresh new faces, faces that are still not marked by the fatigue of having to make it; they boldly seek emerging actors who do not know the mechanisms, who don’t wink at you or whose expressiveness does not unconsciously stick to you, because of the little experience they have and have learnt to exploit».

Maybe it’s better not to be obsessive for acting at all costs?
«That demon never possessed me. I have never chased it since childhood. At one point, I let myself consciously be seduced by it. And, once seduced, I chose to commit myself with passion».

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

As a child, what did you dream to become?
«A dancer, but not only: I looked around and when I saw someone who did a job well, I wanted to be him: a journalist, a cashier at the supermarket, a dancer… Even today, if I meet a child who is a good child, I would like to go back in time».

However, you have always loved going to the movies, right?
«My dad took me. I remember small theaters in Rome, where you could smoke. We started with action movies which had just come out; once finished, we moved on to horror movies. By the way, I am still an expert on this genre (she laughs). I also developed a theory».

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

Share it, please.
«Do you know why very few famous actors act in horror movies? The more anonymous you are, the more credible you are. With some rare exceptions, of course: Nicole Kidman in The Others. However, think about Dario Argento’s masterpieces, for example: there were no famous actors in the cast at that time, such as his wife Daria Nicolodi, and that made the difference. You are not scared if you see Leonardo DiCaprio killing Angelina Jolie in the shower».
Which is the quality that helped Ambra as an actress?
«The right amount of insecurity. It seems a fault in the beginning, but in the long run it turns into an asset. My good luck was not having the arrogance of knowing what to do. I try, see what happens, always committing myself with the discipline and strictness that, perhaps, I inherited from ballet: I studied it from when I was four until I was sixteen years old».
I imagine that on your first set the insecurity was massive!
«Saturno Contro by Ferzan Ozpetek: my first ever movie».

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

You worked your way up from television: on air at fifteen years old.
«It is wrong to say: “Ambra jumped from TV to cinema”. It creates illusions and easy, shallow criticism. There is a story in between, my story of doors slummed in my face, tears shed and so many “nos” that I soon lost count. We should learn from you Americans to talk about careers starting from the bottom and of the single steps made halfway that an actor takes to become a star».
Tell us about your steps.
«Having started acting late – at 26, not 18 – I acted in a lot of movies to measure myself with the greatest number of possible situations. Once someone asked me: “Why did you accept that part?”. Sometimes the answer is so simple that I’d rather not reply».
You probably went on many auditions.
«Ah, my cross to bear! There is still not a role that I managed to get thanks to an audition I’m happy with. The truth is I get very paranoid, so if I do not feel wanted-understood-loved-protected; I cannot bring out the best in me, I cannot fight».
Yet, you won the title of the Italian Sandra Bullock.
«I always thought it was right to move audiences with a little of the pain I have inside of me through the dramatic roles. After all, I am a first class one-way ticket for the movie festival. But comedies provide you with another kind of satisfaction: you discover the redemption in the movie theaters when you mix in with the audience, you sit down and watch the genuinely amused reactions».

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

Do you fear premieres with the experts of the field?
«I am hypersensitive; I get discouraged by the ratings and by my own criticisms, even though I am sharping my ability not to judge me. It is a difficult task, I repeat to myself: “The woman on the screen is doing what they asked her to do, nor more nor less. It does not matter that she is ugly or beautiful, graceful or not”».
What if they should propose to you a TV series? Look what House of cards did to Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.
«I wish! Acting in tv series has an advantage: you can become all in one with the character you play. The downside? That same character risks to crush you, to stick with you forever. Well, ok, George Clooney was able to take off the doctor’s coat of ER and to (re)start a professional life outside of the emergency room (of County General Hospital in Chicago,). However, Ronn Moss will remain Beautiful’s Ridge Forrester and Hugh Laurie the grouchy Dr. House. Then, luck turns into a life sentence».
In the meantime, you do theater.
«This sacred temple keeps giving me continuous flattering and interesting opportunities. Shortly, I’ll start to rehearse a Harold Pinter text: Betrayal. On stage with me, Francesco Scianna; director, Michele Placido: with him I shot La scelta. He has the gift to push me beyond my limits».
The next limit you want to overcome?
«Try not to go back. That is, a hard job, because we live with the past: it is increasingly profitable, easy and safe. When, instead, you live your present time or even you look towards what will be, you are watched closely. And I do not mind being under special surveillance».

know more about Ambra

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved

©Luca Babini 2015 all rights reserved





7 Responses to “Dreams of Ambra”

  1. MoniK_A says:


  2. Dorianacomini says:


  3. Marco says:

    wonderful! Best actress and so beautiful 🙂 p.s is it possible to buy the magazine?

  4. MirkoSpectra says:


  5. Mark Azzopardi says:

    Ambra, simply brilliant, extraordinary, and unique. Love from Malta ❤️

  6. Barbara T. says:

    Beautiful interview in which she shows, once again, how funny, brilliant and most of all, down to earth she is. Way to go Ambra!! And she’s beyond stunning in these pictures! I wish you nothing but the very best for your future projects and in life! <3

  7. Devis says:

    TOP! <3