Sunday 14, October, 2012

Interview with Claudia Gerini

By Martin Goolsarran

It wasn’t until a recent trip to Frightfest horror festival that I first caught sight of Claudia Gerini. As she graciously posed for photos and adeptly answered questions for the press, her glamorous looks and eloquent manner ensured you couldn’t ignore her star quality.

To the media, all the fussing over her was every inch a big deal. With 25 years of TV and film experience behind her and having worked with some of the world’s greatest directors, Italian A-lister Claudia Gerini was at Frightfest to promote her latest film, the modern day Italian giallo/horror piece -Tulpa.

Tulpa tells the story of Lisa Boeri, by day, a high- flying corporate executive, by night her out of work hours take her into the clandestine world of sexual fetish club Tulpa. A spate of macabre murders connect Lisa to the victims, forcing her to explore herself more deeply and even more so the cryptic underside to Tulpa.

With a busy schedule, promoting Tulpa and the Christopher Smith mini-series Labyrinth, the lovely Claudia has managed to take time out to speak with Liberation Frequency about her latest offerings.

With Tulpa being a horror film, it is a bit of a departure from your previous type of roles. What was it that appealed to you about the doing this film?

Firstly I would say Tulpa is a giallo, there is a big difference between a giallo and a horror film.  Giallo is not just about frights and gore, it’s also about sex, colours, fashion, powerful music, - a certain level of craziness, irony,  and some weird plot twists; everything needed to be mixed in an extremely stylish way. I did a lot of comedies, dramas, and rom-coms, but Tulpa has been a totally different experience. I had to change my way of acting - it was a tough role to deal with. 

Did your husband (director Federico Zampaglione) have any influence on you choosing the part?

I loved the screenplay since the very beginning and I found Lisa‘s character incredibly interesting to play. She‘s so strong and fragile, pure but twisted .... someone you really want to deeply explore.

You’ve worked with some great directors like Mel Gibson and Giuseppe Tornatore. How did you find the overall experience of being directed by Federico, as opposed to working with any other director? 

Federico is passionate and he loves what he does. He put in an incredible amount of energy while shooting and that makes it very exciting working with him.  I think he has a big talent for the genre and I was constantly surprised by his ability to build up creepy and unnerving moments. By the way, we already did a movie together in 2006: Nero Bifamiliare.....a sort of a dark comedy.

How did you approach playing the character Lisa Boeri? Did you do any research into the world of fetish clubs or high powered corporate executives? 

Actually I was driven by the soul of the character itself. I tried not to think too much while shooting. I wanted Lisa to take over and get the better of me. 

With Italian films there tends to be a certain amount of nudity that’s acceptable on screen (as perhaps opposed to what’s shown here within the UK). With the nature of Tulpa revolving around a strong sexual theme, did you find this to be in any way different at all?

Tulpa shows many sexy moments, but in a very personal and quite surreal fashion. The atmosphere in the Tulpa club while we were shooting was quite mesmerizing and I can see that also on the screen.

You speak excellent English. How did you find switching between speaking phonetic English and your native Italian?

I loved switching from Italian to English; it’s something that gives you the opportunity to take a different angle and perspective towards your work. On top of this, it’s more credible in the movie that when I speak to foreigners I do it in English, but when I talk to Italian people I use my language.  The bottom line is it helped me to portray that sense of Lisa’s double personality and edginess in her behaviour.
Tulpa has some great references to classics such as (Brian de Palma’s) Dressed to kill and (Dario Argento’s) The Bird with the Crystal Plumage .Were there any films that you drew on for inspiration into doing a horror film?

I love Mario Bava, Argento, Sergio Martino, but in this case i didn’t want to watch any of their movies, in particular right before shooting; instead I managed to do something on my own. I like the idea that Tulpa is a contemporary and modern giallo, not just homage to that golden age of the Italian genre. 

Do you watch many horror films? Do you have a favourite that might surprise your fans?

Lately, I was shocked by Wolf Creek, Martyrs, and The Woman, which were such brutal and disturbing flicks. Actually I can’t stand too much violence and gore, expecially when it involves women, but you know when you have a husband who is a horror director, you need to get used to it a bit. 

You’ll be working with Christopher Smith (of Severance and Black Death fame) on the drama Labyrinth. What can you tell us about that? What kind of character will you be playing? Will she be quite different to Lisa Boeri?

Working with Chris on Labyrinth has been an awesome experience. He’s an amazing director with great skills and a strong artistic personality. I play Marie Cecile and this time, believe it or not, I’m the villain of the story. I can tell you I had so much fun filming in Cape Town. I understand it will be broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, early next year.

I understand that you enjoy martial arts and are a Black Belt in Taekwondo? How did you get into that? Would you ever consider doing a martial arts movie for your fans?

Taekwondo is fantastic and it’s a complete and powerful fighting style.  I train three times a week. Actually, I would love to get involved in a martial arts feature; it’s something that really turns me on. Lately, Federico showed me The Raid and I found it unbelievable. 

Now feeling more like something of an expert in the world of Giallo film-making and A-list celebrities I can tell you that Claudia Gerini will be promoting and can be seen in Tulpa and Labyrinth in the following:

Tulpa is in official competition at The Sitges Film Festival 2012

is broadcast on Channel 4 early 2013