CULTURE

Challenges of a jeune premier

For the 29-year-old actor Riccardo Scarmacio, already a popular film star in Italy, success as a jeune premier is not enough. He wants to try new, different and challenging roles, like that of Elias, the young immigrant in Costa-Gavras’s latest film «Eden is West.» Elias is a character who wanders around Europe in silence, chasing a dream. Scarmacio talked to Kathimerini about the challenging role of Elias, as well as other challenges he has faced in his career, shortly before the official Athens premiere of «Eden is West.» How did you prepare for the part of Elias? I tried to find the child within Elias. I had to demonstrate his innocence, because he knows nothing about the world he is getting into. The more innocent I presented Elias to be, the greater the contrast with the other people, the prejudice and their cynicism. I kept thinking about what it is that makes the people Elias meets stand out. It is loneliness. They have the need to communicate with somebody because they feel lonely and they think about the future in a negative way. Some 30 years ago we thought of the future in a positive way, not to mention hope. Now we only have negative things in mind. Today, when you come across immigrants on the street, do you treat them differently? Of course, I think of where they have come from and where they are going. In the film’s opening scene, on board the boat transferring the illegal immigrants, the extras were real migrants. It was an amazing experience both for them and us. It was the first time they found themselves in a film shoot and they were all excited. Looking into their eyes, I found Elias’s gaze, something between despair and hope. I heard sad stories about the people they have lost, yet they maintain their hope. Actors tend to keep something from each director they work with. What will you keep from Costa-Gavras? I will keep his moral stance. I like his composed way of thinking and living as well as his way of dealing with things. You are only 29 years old, yet you have acted in a number of films. Is it easy for you to find roles you want to play or do you get the best thing possible? I would have loved to work with Federico Fellini. Since he has passed away, I work with Costa-Gavras, which makes me just as happy. I would like to work with Martin Scorsese and I hope that one day I will do that. I do not want to limit my ambitions, but at the same time I am a realist. I believe I have been lucky and with this film I may gain even more. I like challenges. I don’t like easy things and I need stimuli to feed my desire. Every movie I shoot can give me certain things that make me understand myself better.