Eugenio Masciari, the actor and director who interprets life as an illusion

When I was asked to interview him, I could imagine everything, except the meeting with the actor, director and screenwriter from Catanzaro Eugene Masciari become a valuable experience for me. Born in 1949, black beret on head, red taffeta scarf around neck; an artistic allure connoted by something we would never think of finding in a film actor of his caliber: shyness. Yet there is.

Eugenio began acting as a young man and by chance; one evening, in Turin where he worked as a worker for Fiat, a friend took him to rehearsals for a small theater company. An actor was missing and the director asked Eugenio to simply read his lines.

Thus began the passion for acting that led him to work with directors such as Mario Monicelli, Nanni Moretti and Roberto Benigni. And it is precisely with the latter that our protagonist is portrayed in a photo taken by Nicoletta Braschi and published on her Facebook profile. They must have both been in their thirties, it was Benigni’s birthday and Masciari dedicated these words from William Shakespeare to him: Life is but a shadow, a poor comedian Tossing and strutting on the stage of the world For his hour and then there is nothing left of him; a tale told by an idiot, full of noise and fury, meaning nothing.

So I immediately have to ask him what life meant.

«Life is a dream, a fiction, an illusion and mine is no different. Physically we are not eternal but our soul is, consequently on this earth we play a part, adapting to who we are facing. We all know how to pretend, we all know how to be actors, we all act… except those who do it for a living because they are get smart

I warn of spirituality. “Yes, yes. My spiritual being emerged around the age of seven or eight: I was in the car with my father and from Siano we were moving towards the city of Catanzaro. At a certain point along the road I no longer saw Catanzaro or my house and so I asked my dad: “But doesn’t Catanzaro or our house exist? We are neither there nor there! Where we are? Who we are?”. Dad didn’t answer me and started laughing, he was happy with my extravagance».

Speaking of imprudence: is it true that he was also a fugitive?

“Ahahahahaha! It’s true. I was a worker at Fiat in Turin and, let’s say, that I had made myself quite famous because I often incited strikes… you know, it was the era of the Red Brigades and Lotta Continua. However, after just eight months of theater school I auditioned at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan where they took me for Strehler’s King Lear. I resigned from Fiat and he literally disappeared from Turin to move to Milan. No one knew anything about me and even the forces of order believed, as a member of a former parliamentary faction, that I had gone underground in some armed group. Two years later, while I was on tour with King Lear in one of the most important theaters in Turin, a colonel of the Carabinieri known for his commitment to the fight against terrorism came into the dressing room at the end of the show and asked me if I knew one of my namesake, a certain Eugenio Masciari who had worked at Fiat. Obviously there was no one with my same name: I was the fugitive! Having cleared up the misunderstanding, I calmly continued to be an actor».

Unavailability aside, was it difficult to live far from your land, from your city, since you then returned there?

«I left Calabria and Catanzaro very early, I was about 14 years old. Then, about ten years ago I was supposed to make a film with Jerry Lewis and Sean Penn but the project didn’t go through. At that point I said enough. I have found a rather secluded little house near the sea, from which I continue to write. I am wonderful!».

And here we come to his latest work: The man who drew Goda film starring Kevin Spacey to be released on January 19, 2023. What led you to write this screenplay and why this title?

«After twenty years of absence from Turin I went back to shoot I prefer the sound of the sea by Mimmo Calopresti. One day I felt like going to look around the street where I had lived, just to see my neighbors if they had aged and how. In the building where I had a house lived a Czech and, while I had noticed that all the other residents had grown old (of course!), this person here seemed even younger to me. I decide to follow him and, at a certain point, I stand in front of him and understand why he seemed rejuvenated: he was wearing a wig. Just him that I remembered to be completely bald! I began to reflect on why a blind man would feel the need to wear a toupee and I wrote many texts about it, but I didn’t like any of them until I thought about The man who drew God, or the story of a Czech who listens to people, reads their soul and with plasticine depicts their face. Due to this peculiarity, the blind protagonist is invited to a television show and becomes rich and famous, but loses the ability to understand and sculpt the human spirit. He wonders a lot about this, abandons everything and goes back to being what he was before. It’s a decidedly spiritual narrative.”

And for the future, can you tell us something?


Eugenio Masciari, the actor and director who interprets life as an illusion – CatanzaroInforma