Zinna is best known in Italy as a television and film star. He has done many supporting roles in high profile films such as Gabriele Salvatores' thriller, "Io non ho paura" and Nanni Morretti's, "Caro diario." However, he’s proven that he can carry the lead role as well. He did so with great success in Toni D'Angelo's 2008 breakout hit, "Una Notte." The film follows a group of old friends who were brought together by the sudden death of one of their comrades. Zinna takes on the role of a musician who gave up on his dream for a more realistic career in finance. He rediscovers his passion for music after spending a night traveling the streets of Naples with his beloved old friends and an eccentric taxi driver played by the director’s iconic father and Neapolitan crooner, Nino D'Angelo.
Read my interview with Toni D'Angelo
Read my interview with Toni D'Angelo
In addition to film, he has been a key player in an elite group of Neapolitan artists who go between cinema, television and theatre. That group includes what I like to call, maestros in the making; Silvio Orlando, Toni Servillo, Paolo Sorrentino and of course, Riccardo Zinna. These filmmakers, full of Neapolitan pride, have taken the stories and landscapes from their historic homeland and transmitted them throughout the world through their passion and their art.
|Riccardo and moi at his art exhibit in Rome|
I spoke with Riccardo Zinna about his career and the famous Neapolitans with whom he collaborates.
It seems that you have been acting nearly all of your life. Have you always felt that your destiny was to be an actor?Absolutely not! When I was 16 years old, I was in a band where I sang and played guitar. Silvio Orlando, who went on to become a famous actor in Italy, was also in the group. He played the flute. From there, we took part in a theatre production under the direction of maestro, Roberto De Simone, writer and director of the now legendary production, "La gatta cenerentola”. After that experience, I became busy with theatre and founded a company in the 70's that collaborated on productions with other companies in the community. So everything just fell into place.
Have your Neapolitan origins influenced your work as an artist?Yes, Naples has definitely influenced my work as an artist. It's a magical city, rich with inspiration. Life is sometimes difficult in Naples, but it has a unique vitality that really cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Video Clip from "Nessun messaggio in segreteria" - Scene with Pierfrancsco Favino
Tell me about your experience working with another one of your Neapolitan counterparts, Toni Servillo.In one half of its 90 years, I have participated in the show "Zingari" by Raffaele Viviani under the direction of Toni Servillo. We took part in a major tour, which brought us all over Italy and Europe. It was an interesting experience to work with such a talented director and cast. Toni is a highly respected actor and director with a deep respect for his profession. He has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve through cinema, and he obtains those goals through hard work. He is always studying his craft.
You're also a visual artist... When did you begin to paintWhen I was a teenager in high school, I took some art classes but it's only been within the last 10 years that I picked up a paint brush and started to paint again. It's something that I really enjoy.
Are there any artists (visual, film or music) that have influenced your work?Well, I imagine that everything that I've gone through in life, all of the experiences that I've had are reflected in my work. However, I recently saw something on You Tube that really moved me. It was an old film choreographed by Pina Bausch for "The Man I Love" by Gershwin. It's just fantastic!
Are there any filmmakers that you'd still like to work with?Yes, there are many, such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Aki Kaurismaky, Emir Kusturica, Kim Ki Duk, Milos Forman and Pedro Almodóvar.. just to name a few!
Riccardo Zinna has already achieved so much in his life and career as an artist, but he's just getting started. He continues to paint, compose music and explore his Neapolitan roots in film and theatre. Many of Zinna’s films are available for purchase through Amazon, including "Benvenuti al Sud", "Io non ho paura" and "Caro diario".