Sebastiano Pigazzi, a young Italian-American actor, has many reasons to grin. He will appear in the forthcoming HBO drama. We Are Who We Are, directed by Luca Guadagnino, a renowned filmmaker and one of the finest living artists. Later on, he will make his big screen debut with a documentary on Pompeii, which he worked on with Isabella Rossellini. In addition, he experimented with his abilities in several fields by founding a specialty brand in the fashion industry.
Sebastiano Pigazzi successfully mixes American practicality with a remarkable Italian capacity to enjoy all aspects of life in his existence. Even though he was a renowned film dynasty descendent, he didn’t take anything for granted and decided to use his skill to gain a spot in this “grueling” field rather than relying on the prior successes of his family members. A challenging path that merits respect!
We had a candid conversation with a prospective movie star just before his big break. We learned about his family, forthcoming projects, obligations to the artistic tradition, and attitude toward setbacks.
You come from a family with a long history in performing and filmmaking. Both your mother and your legendary Italian actor, grandpa Bud Spencer were actors. Did your family support your choice to pursue acting?
Not. My mother understood how demanding this business might be since her father was an actor when she was growing up, but she also accepted my choice to follow my dreams. She advised me to give it two years and, if nothing changed, to second-guess my decision. On the other hand, my father is a doctor and a very sensible person. He fought tooth and nail to get me to pursue anything other than acting as a profession. In all honesty, I can understand it. But if I needed motivation and assistance to pursue my decision, it indicated that I didn’t want it intensely enough. I never had a chance to tell my grandpa I wanted to be an actor.
Have you considered pursuing a job other than being a member of the movie industry after growing up in such a creative household as yours?
Really, no. I went to college hoping that a professional path would emerge, but I soon understood that nothing gives me the same feelings as acting. Even though I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, everything was on the table. I was advised to consider going into law or medicine because I never truly thought that acting was a possibility. But I didn’t see myself actively pursuing the other options; they were more like a far-off fantasy.
Who made you decide to dedicate your life to acting?
I was called to audition for the main part in Gabriele Muccino’s forthcoming film Summertime during my first year of college. Gabriele Muccino is the director of The Pursuit of Happiness and Seven Pounds. I received three calls in the end but was not chosen for the position. However, the assistants and casting directors informed me I had some raw potential during the audition process. Being told I could act by someone other than my mother or grandmother gave me confidence. Without Gabriele and that encounter, I doubt I would have had the guts to pursue acting as a profession. Of course, I was a bit upset after coming so close to landing the part in Summertime. Fortunately, I was aware of how to use rejection as fuel for fire at the moment. I thus studied acting as much as I could. I thoroughly investigated the careers of my favorite performers while watching every great vintage film, both American and Italian. Dustin Hoffman was the first actor I fell in love with. I recall watching all of his movies in about a week, and after seeing Tootsie, I finally decided to tell my parents that I would become an actress.
You were identified as “a grandson of a guy who wrote family’s classics” in one of the pieces devoted to your new book. We Are Who We Are. Have you ever felt particularly responsible for your family and society? Possibly failure fear as well?
Well, having high standards motivates me to strive harder! I make an effort to avoid drawing comparisons to my grandpa. You can’t compare us since we are such different performers and come from such distinct performing backgrounds. I am aware that he virtually assumed the status of a deity in certain places. Therefore I would never want to equate myself with him. My grandpa used to playfully remark that I would have qualified for the Olympics in swimming like him, even though I never did. I owe him thus at least this. I make an effort not to worry about my shortcomings. Although I am aware that there is always a risk I may encounter, I will make every effort to reduce the likelihood of it as much as I can.
2020 will be a crucial year for you since a new TV show called We Are Who We Are will premiere this Fall. What drew you to this project?
For Luca Guadagnino’s next HBO project, my Italian representative requested me to record an introductory self-tape last year. I realized that my odds of being noticed were very tiny since I knew that every actor in the world would do the same. However, I ran across Luca Guadagnino two days later while waiting in line at the Newark airport! Despite being star-stuck, I managed to approach and introduce myself. After a solid twenty minutes of conversation, he offered me his email address so I could send another video. I received a call from Luca letting me know I won the position after two self-tapes and three other auditions! Some well-known actors and musicians were among the cast, including Chloe Sevigny and Kid Cudi.
What was it like working on the set with such experienced people?
Everyone was wonderful. Chlo, Kid, Alice, Jack, and the whole ensemble. Most of my scenes included other teens, but I also got to see Chlo and Kid Cudi perform challenging speeches. I must say that their genuine and sustained excitement left me truly impressed.
Your recent endeavor revolves around standard adolescent themes like love, friendship, and self-discovery. What kind of adolescent were you? Have you ever been in a dramatic situation before?
I tended to be a loner. I don’t believe I’ve ever had more than two friends or been asked to a party. I recall constantly being worn out and swimming a lot. I admit that I was a bit let down by my adolescence. I could have made more friends and gone through many more diverse experiences. But since I was so frightened of failing, I did nothing. When I first tried to date ladies and applied to universities, I believe I quickly became used to rejection. Being rejected from the colleges you had selected to attend hurts a lot at first. I’ve never understood how someone who has never met me could respond with “reject.” Now that I can constantly utilize these memories as fuel for my fire, I view it as a gift in disguise.
You were fortunate to collaborate with Luca Guadagnino, a very outstanding modern artist. Did you find it enjoyable? What special information did you learn from him?
It was great! One of my favorite filmmakers is Luca. He has such amazing taste and is a true artist. He is quite clear about what he wants and will not let you go until he has it (mainly because he also knows that you are capable of doing what he asked for). The whole film team must adhere to this method of operation. He also uses photos in an inventive manner. He turns formulaic and tedious elements on their heads and makes every attempt to make the tale easier. I could go on and on because Luca embodies all I value in a person. He is an excellent director and incredibly knowledgeable in many areas. I want to be as visionary as he is and to have the ability to incorporate my understanding of the outside world into my artwork.
You have mostly worked on American cinema productions up to this point. Do you have any plans to add more European films to your filmography?
Yes, please! I’ve always had a great affinity with and affection for French and Italian cinema. I’m now drawn to fresh, imaginative, and ambitious tales with strong ideologies. Italy served as a cradle and hub for talented performers and filmmakers for a very long time. That was accomplished by developing their style of storytelling. I believe that Europe has been attempting to imitate Hollywood structure recently but hasn’t been effective mostly because it isn’t their original structure. It was a dream come true to work with Luca for this additional reason. He is such a creative and distinctive filmmaker that I immediately felt like I was a part of something exceptional.
Your way of life appears to be a hybrid of the American way of life with its extreme workaholism and the Italian way of life with its emphasis on “La Dolce Vita.” What makes the person closest to you?
You referred to “La Dolce Vita” as a way of life, and the well-known film just so happens to be extremely dear to my heart, family, and a large part of who I am. La Dolce Vita, a movie directed by Federico Fellini, was produced by Giuseppe “Peppino” Amato, my great-grandfather. Returning to the original question, I believe I have combined these two ways of living. Since they ultimately complete one another, I believe that both are required. Without putting in the prior hard work, I can’t enjoy the “dolce vita,” but at the same time, unwinding enables me to recognize my prior accomplishments. I often go back to my grandpa and how his life used to be: he worked on two movies a year for thirty years, but he never neglected his hobbies or his family. I’m hoping to maintain my sense of equilibrium throughout my life.
What else do you have in store for the foreseeable future? Any upcoming projects on which we may count on seeing you soon?
I’m developing a specialized apparel brand called Sepu X. I hope to launch my little fashion enterprise in the next months. Additionally, Isabella Rossellini and I have a minor part in a documentary on Pompeii that I’m looking forward to seeing since it’s unique.