Did you ever wonder what is like to be an actress? No, not a Hollywood movie star, just one of the remaining 90% of the players... Here, you're gonna find the answer! Welcome to my life, Umberta, actress not (yet) a star!


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Meeting Paolo Sorrentino

A couple of months ago, my Italian agent called me for a very important casting. It was the kind of call one doesn’t receive everyday
So one cold morning, without telling anyone, to avoid bad luck (yup sometimes my Italian origin re-emerges), I woke up before dawn, headed to the airport in the dark and secretly jumped on a plane to Rome…

airplane dawn sky

Before you get too excited, it’s better I tell you right away this is not a happy ending story… I’m not jumping all around, yelling « Yayyyyy I got it ! I goooooot iiiiiit ! ». Nope. But it’s an interesting story. Cause honestly, one doesn’t get to meet an oscar winning director everyday, right ? 
Plus it’s a story that really conforted me about my acting skills :)

I arrived in Rome early morning, took the train to go to the city centre and use the time in the train to refresh my face - I woke up at 4 am so I needed some make up.

I was so prepared, I worked so hard for that audition, that I didn't even need to rehearse in the train... Honestly, I think I've never been so prepared!

I was just super happy and over excited, this is probably why, without thinking, I automatically put on some coloured lip balm, which turned out to be a big mistake: as soon as I arrived at the audition, the casting director started yelling at me because my lips were slightly pink, and what the hell I was thinking as I was auditioning for a nun role (which I didn't know because apparently the plot and the project was so secret that I couldn't have any information before the casting...).

The stupid lip balm didn't want to go away so eventually the casting director obliged me to wash my mouth with soap...

I think it's fair to say the audition didn't start well...

It went even worse - or that's what I thought: the first scene I had to prepare was a crazy girl who thought she saw Virgin Mary. 
I did my stuff, and I must admit I was quite proud of myself... Except that the casting director told me to do it again and to tell the text with no emotion at all... ok I did it, but honestly... which is the point on working on a crazy character then?

After that, I played the second text, a woman going through the loss of his loved one, again with zero emotion.

And that was it.

"The Young Pope" Paolo Sorrentino audition

As soon as I was out from the casting director office I started to cry. I thought I did a bad audition and that the casting director obviously hated me and I wasted my big occasion to be in - drumroll please - "The Young Pope" an upcoming tv series by Academy Award winner director Paolo Sorrentino, starring Jude Law as the young Pope.

Jude Law The Young Pope

Still crying I had lunch with one of my besties (I lied before, I did tell someone I went to Rome and why, but only to my hubby and 2 girlfriends of mine), she more or less arrived to cheer me up a bit and in the afternoon I took the plane back to Paris.

So imagine my surprise when my agent called me to tell me that Paolo Sorrenting himself wanted to meet me!

I jumped on a plane, went back to Rome - did not put any lip balm in the train this time - went to the production company and ready I was to meet Sorrentino!

I didn't have to prepare anything for this audition so I thought maybe Sorrentino wanted actors to improvise or maybe he just wanted to talk with them to see if they can relate to the character (apparently Elia Kazan, Martin Scorsese and other great directors do that).

Anyway, Paolo Sorrentino arrived one hour late, and while me and the other actors were waiting, what really shocked me it was how the casting director and the other people were talking about him, almost with fear... Like if he was a powerful king and all of them the poor subjects... When he finally rang the interphone everyone was running around like "Paolo is here!", "Paolo is in the elevator!"... Have you seen what happens in "The devil wears Prada" the seconds before Miranda's arrival? You have the idea.

"The devil wears Prada" Miranda arrives gif

Paolo Sorrentino took a camera, put it at two inches from my nose, told me not to move and not to smile and started snapping pictures of me because he wanted to see if "I really was like I was in the video audition". He barely talked to me, but he acted surprised when I told him I came from Paris. He was like: "But you have other things to do in Rome right? You didn't come just to meet me?" Honestly. Does he even know what the job of an actress is?

After 2 minutes he told me "Do you know why actors love me?", I said "non" and he replied "Because I'm fast". And the audition was finished.

He honestly seemed to me a bit strange and haughty...

When I called my agent just after that, even the girl who answerd the phone seemed to talk to me differently because I just met Sorrentino and my agent was like "you saw how impressive is it to meet him?". I said yes to be polite, but honestly found everyone was a bit overreacting...
But I'm generally not impressed by famous people, I mean they're just other human beings, exactly like you and me, they just have much more experience and, sometimes, more luck...
I think that I could also play with Leonardo DiCaprio without being impressed... What I like about meeting or working with such people is that one can learn so much...

Anyway, in the end apparently I'm not like in the video audition as Sorrentino didn't take me for "The Young Pope".

No seriously I don't know why I hadn't been chosen. There may be so many reasons... But what i'm happy about is that after watching my audition, Paolo Sorrentino wanted to meet me, as if I was a bad actress he wouldn't have wanted.
And all in all it was a good experience :) And that means that my big occasion is yet to come... I just hope it won't get lost on the way ;)

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