AN INTERVIEW WITH Marcus Marcelli, ACTOR & FILMMAKER


As an Actor and filmmaker, please introduce yourself and let us know why you became an actor and a filmmaker?

My name is Marcus Marcelli. I am a young actor and director. Since I was a child I loved to play other characters and do imitations,

to give them life has been my passion ever since and at the same time the challenge that most stimulated me.

There was no precise moment in my life in which I decided to become an actor, it grew with me: I knew I was an actor since

I went up for the first time on stage at the age of three. It was therefore natural for me both to attend acting courses and to participate

in all those shows that gave me the opportunity to test myself in playing the most diverse roles. After several acting courses in Italy and England, my training phase culminated in the USA with a degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and subsequently from

the New York Film Academy. I think it is essential for a director to have an acting background. Being on the other side of the camera

gives you the sensitivity a director needs to understand how to work with his characters. It gives you a deeper understanding of the chemistry

and interaction during scenes. I think acting, filmmaking and screenwriting are three arts that are deeply connected and it’s impossible

to do one without understanding the others. Writing gave me the spark to create other worlds, acting made me want to live in these worlds,

and Filmmaking eventually made me want to share this worlds with everybody. I wanted to tell my own stories. When I was acting as an actor,

I felt the need to know more about filmmaking and so I started asking around my friends who were directors. Whenever I was on set

between filming, I would go up and ask the crew questions: how the lights work, how the camera focuses. And they were all really generous

with great advice and tips. I was fortunate to have this type of in field education and I am still educating myself on the subject.

But that's what's so compelling about technique: there is no right or wrong, you have to look at the story and see

what is the best technical approach for it. Why become a director? Because, in addition to interpreting interesting human personalities

as an actor, I feel the urge to also tell many choral stories, which I can tell the public only with that overall approach that a director can give.


Give some more information about the films you have made so far, about your background and experience?

I come from a family of history buffs, so I grew up in this type of environment. It was normal for my father or grandparents to entertain me for hours with stories of all kinds, from those of ancient times to the very recent ones. Of course this has awakened my creative imagination since childhood, which translated into the best games organized with my brother, my cousins ​​and my friends, when as children we fought in the woods and we built castles made of old tents and broom handles. I couldn't be more grateful to my family for giving me such a fun childhood, made of history and legends often told outdoors, where abandoned vans would become dragons in the woods and tree-houses your kingdoms.

Then growing up during my studies I was fascinated by the complexity of historical events, by the difficulty of their reconstruction and their

interpretation. But to me History class was always a lot of fun! And this has even more stimulated my desire to measure myself with the complexity of rendering historical events for the public. As a director, I realized that I had acquired a treasure trove of stories

that populated my childhood, most of which are little known or even completely unknown to the general public, to whom I felt the need,

the urgency to tell them. Sometimes I wonder how many blockbusters can be drawn from these stories that almost nobody has ever heard of,

I’m not talking about small facts but real stories that surprisingly nobody has ever heard of before,

On the other hand, in recent years, due to the need for training, I have also grappled with almost all genres of entertainment

(romantic comedies, thrillers, westerns, film noir, musicals, etc.), learning a lot and having even more fun. I certainly intend

to devote myself to all these genres in my near future.

Why did you make your Fiction historic short Film “​Blood Brotherhood​“?

The world of chivalry was the childhood dream. As a child I have always wanted to become a knight and so during my adolescence along with

many other sports I also started to practice the art of medieval sword fighting and ancient martial arts. It was not just a fencing lesson

for me, but a way to embody the ideals of chivalry, such as courage, courtesy, honor and gallantry ... ancient words that today seem perhaps

distant in time, but which, in my opinion, still have a lot to say to modern life. The same friends with whom I learned to use the sword

were chosen to interpret this film of mine. The clash between two brothers for power and for the same woman is a classic drama with

strong colors, which has fascinated many authors of literature, theater and cinema. I thought I'd start with a theme like this,

setting it in an intriguing era like the late Middle Ages.


What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Probably watching Charlie Chaplin’s movies, when I realized that 100 years later we still watch those films and we still laugh, we still cry,

we are still suspended watching them! I wanted to make movies that people would still want to watch hundreds of years from now,

not because they’re vintage, but because they speak to the human soul regardless of the time period. As a child my father's narrative skills

had a special impact on me and he was able to tell me many exciting stories. In literature a great source of inspiration has been Dante,

the tragedies of Shakespeare, but also the comedies of Plautus. I loved the great Hollywood classics with their charm and elegance, such as,

Quo Vadis, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, the Vikings, where the CGI did not yet exist and the thousands of soldiers were all

real background extras. As an actor Errol Flynn, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, Kirk Douglass, Gary Oldman and Clark Gable have been

great source of inspiration, especially the first one. More recently I was struck by LA LA Land, Midway, Aquaman, Knives out....

and the list goes on and on.

What movie do you like best and why?

Such a hard question often asked...

I wouldn’t be able to pick a movie that’s above all the others but

a film that had a particular impact on me since my early teens

is Braveheart. Mel Gibson has been a great teacher for me both

as an actor and as a director. Although this film is a very free interpretation of historical reality, the character of William Wallace (also portrayed by Mel Gibson) still keeps the values of a true knight

in spite of the harshness of the world he lives in.

He embodies the values ​​of chivalry that have fallen into the

hard and petty political history of the world... the real world

we live in every day. He gave me a model of life with his courage, strength and honor. Believing in chivalric love he is willing to give

his life for his values ​​and his affections, in a society that rests

on many other values: all values that I think are very important

for the time we live in. The Lord of the Rings, in both its forms,

book and film, also profoundly influenced my creativity.

Thinking about Tolkien's genius who not only wrote a new epic,

but created a whole living world around it with languages,

stories and songs, it’s something magical! I wish Disney and

Tolkien had done something together!


In filmmaking who do you like to work with

if you have a choice?


Still alive? Mel Gibson, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Roman Polanski, David Fincher. I recently worked with David Fincher in Mank and it has been for me a masterclass to see him in action, to observe the care he has for every little detail and the way he tries to draw you into the story. He developed a technique that makes him unique. Only a great storyteller like him could manage to make me passionate about a story that generally I wouldn’t been interested in. Seeing his films is like looking at a Caravaggio’s: you have no idea how he managed to compose such a masterpiece. Another great source of inspiration for me was seeing Gary Oldman work on the set. I was struck by the humility of this Oscar-winning actor and the sensitivity he brings to each scene.


What are your favorite genres to work on? Why?


Primarily I do period, war and fantasy films, but I equally love pretty much every genre. In the end, it's not so much the genre that

matters to me, as the subject and the quality of the narrative!

To Dig the genre of the story, its settings, the chemistry between

its characters! It has greatly helped me as an actor to raise up above

my point of view and see the general picture, just to better understand my individual role and feel part of a more complex story than mine.

My motto is “we do in movies what we can’t do in life” and this is

true for every genre. If you listen to any dialogue in any film,

even the most realistic, you realize it has very little to do with real life, because in reality we hold our feelings, we don’t just burst them out like characters do. In this sense, acting is more real than life,

because it gives us a chance to say what most of the times

we are not allowed to say, and that’s also why movies are so successful. I believe that a good or bad acting can only make any film a little

better or a little worse, but if the story is solid and the characters develop well through their conflicts, the film, no matter what, will still be good. Rarely anybody goes to the movie theater to watch just

great acting, or great special effects, we want to know the story!

And that’s all that matters in the end, all should be in funcion of it.

I also think a great soundtrack it’s essential for every kind of film,

can you think of a great movie that doesn’t have a superbe soundtrack? Not many... That is why I also invested in a soundtrack for Blood Brotherhood, played specifically for the film in a record studio.

The group we worked with specializes in late medieval musics, with studies of old music scores from French monasteries and paintings picturing the instruments used at the time, we were able to compose something very interesting! The music you find in Blood Brotherhood are real medieval tunes that are probably the most accurate reproduction of what music sounded like in the early 1400’s.

Your short film "​Blood Brotherhood​" was officially selected in the "American Golden Picture International Film Festival".

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this film?

The biggest challenge for me was production and to keep everything together: crew, actors, costume designers, make-up artists,

historical consultants, sound engineers, cameramen all together, and at the same time not distracting myself when saying my lines.

Editing was almost half of the job, you become very precise and demanding with what you have done with passion, so you need a very

attentive editor which fortunately I had. The other challenge was the sword fighting sequence. From the beginning I wanted to include

that element in the story and I knew it would have been a challenge to shoot. I also knew well from personal experience, that real duels

are very fast, no monologues during the clinging of the swords or any acrobatic blows, you try to hit your opponent as fast and direct as possible. Duels might last a minute or two at the longest; at least the ones where you try to kill the adversary for real.

I have seen dozens of duels in films to learn shooting angles, but I also had the honor of having my old fencing teacher to direct the choreography. The choice of location proved to be not easy: initially we found a real castle for the shooting, but then we had sound problems,

so we had to opt for an indoor set. Another difficult part was the costumes, which I found thanks to a group of passionate period costume designers. My real brother, who plays the notary in the film and who is a professional historian in real life, helped me choosing

the costumes and above all as historical consultant for the film.


What was the biggest lesson you had to learn?

To manage an entire crew was probably the biggest lesson. Directors are famous for always being hard on set, now I understand why.

The moment you jump on a set as a director, you have thousands of choices to make very quickly, you have to impose times and tasks,

taking into account everyone's commitments at the same time. Time is the biggest enemy. When you direct and act the challenge is

double, but ironically for me it helped to focus on my role, I didn’t have time to jump in and out of the story so I just decided to be

in character the whole time and he is a real leader, just like a director should be.

What part of the filmmaking is the hardest part?

Probably to have a sense of the whole movie while you shoot it. You always have preconceived ideas on how the picture should look like and you try very hard to match your expectations, but somehow it never goes as you planned. Sometimes you realize a scene is taking a direction you haven’t thought of and maybe it works even better than what you planned. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to repeat a scene

several times and pay close attention to the details. The key is to be flexible but to hold a general sense of what you’re shooting.


The most important part is distributing the film. What did you do for distributing your film?

At the moment, Blood Brotherhood is only available for film festivals. So far we have won 4 awards for best acting and best short.

In the meantime, however we had some notable names to review our work. Among these, some have already expressed

themselves with great comments:

John Clements (undisputed maximum expert of renaissance martial arts in America)

“​That’s very well shot and the production values looks very professional. Great choice of set and costuming. Compliments!”

Peter Cornwell (Director of the Hunting in Connecticut)

”Great directing, great acting, great story!”

Vince Tempera (Soundtrack composer for Kill bill: Volume 1)

“Great and accurate musical choice!”

Carmelo Agate (Set designer for the Netflix series “Medici”)

“Congratulations, the film has all my appreciation!”

After this phase we will distribute Blood Brotherhood on the media, where anyone could watch it.


What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking?

To inspire others. I express myself much better with films than with any other form of art. For me it’s not enough to just read a story

or to see some pictures about it, I want to live in it and make other people feel like they’re living in that world.


What sorts of movies would you like to get involved if you had your choice?

At the moment I would like to take part in the new series of The Lord of the Rings, which are shooting in New Zealand,

because I love the symbolic language of fantasy films. However, It was a lot of fun for me when I was a kid studying history,

it was like going on an adventure. War films have often inspired me, for the spirit of sharing, altruism and sacrifice that inspire

the suffering of many soldiers of all times and from all fronts. However, I also love light genres, such as musicals, in which I like to test

my singing skills, or brilliant costume satires on today's society. As right now the new series of Lord of the Rings that Peter Jackson

is shooting in New Zealand. Vikings on history channel and the Neflix series Medici. I would also like to make documentaries,

to educate the younger audience about history, I feel like in most schools they lack the right approach to it, for me since early

childhood history class was an adventure! Also because I had great teachers in my family that knew how to make it compelling,

something that could entertain and educate at the same time. I also love light genres, such as musicals in which I like to test my singing

and dancing skills that I learned back at the Academy. For my next project I hope to do a comedy.


What are your filmmaking goals?

I wish that every character I play and every film I direct can arouse strong emotions, that make the audience explore different worlds

perceive human dramas, make people think and suggest new ideas that inspire strong and great choices in everyone’s real life.

We are all reunited here at this great film festival because somehow at some point a movie has changed our life and our prospective on it.

That is what I want to do, to change people’s lives with films. To portray extraordinary stories in which ordinary people can find themselves.

In a word, I would like my films to remain in the hearts of the public many years after they are released.

If in hundreds of years people will still watch my movies like we watch Chaplin nowadays, that will be my award more than any other prize.


What is your next project?

I’m working on the script for a much bigger scale film, set in the 1930’s. Hopefully you’ll hear about it soon!


GOOD LUCK Marcus


Marcus' links:


IMdb:

https://pro.imdb.com/name/nm11026170/filmography


Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/marcusmarcelli/