Anna Falchi was born Anna Kristiina Palomaki, on April 22, 1972, in Tampere, Finland. Her mother, Kaarina Palomaki Sisko, is Finnish, while her father, Benito "Tito" Falchi, is from Romagna, Italy. Growing up in Italy, Anna was a tomboy, and had a fervent imagination. She is known mostly for her prolific career in modelling. However, she tried her hand at acting and landed a role in one of my favorite Italian comedies, "Nessun messaggio in segreteria". I consider it my one of my favorites because it brought together so many amazing, talented filmmakers during a time when they were all just starting out. Those filmmakers, Pierfrancesco Favino, Valerio Mastandrea, Luca Miniero and Paolo Genovese are now huge names in contemporary Italian cinema, so it's great to look back and see their work in a low-profile film completely different from the bigger-budget stardom they now know. Watch the trailer.
Anna Falchi started her career as a model. She first appeared on TV in a commercial for an Italian bank in 1992. The ad starred Paolo Villaggio, and was actually directed by Federico Fellini. This helped her launch a film career, starting with "Nel continente nero" (On the Dark Continent) in 1993. She appeared in a number of films since, including the 1994 fantasy movie "Desideria e l'Anello del Drago" and then more recently in the comedy "Nessun messaggio in segreteria". She has also been a popular television personality, hosting various specials on Italian TV.
She is less known in the English speaking world. Some fans of the horror comic Dylan Dog, know her as the lead female in a film adaptation called "Dellamorte Dellamore", which was released in the U.S.as "Cemetery Man".
I caught up with Anna while she was in New York. We talked about her diverse background and what it was like working with two cinema greats, Federico Fellini and Pierfrancesco Favino.
What was it like growing up in two cultures, with your mother from Finland and your father from Italy?
It was beautiful. I grew up in northern Italy, in Rimini. My parents were teachers, so it was never expected that I would become an actress. But they've always been very supportive. My brother is a producer and we have our own production company. So, it's great to work with him. I like producing because I enjoy helping young actors and actresses, and giving them the opportunity to work. Also, I don't always want to be on camera.
When did you start working as a model?
I started modeling when I was 14 years old. I would just do it on weekends. It was good for me because when I was a child, my family used to move a lot, so I was always changing schools and houses. Modeling gave me the opportunity to work and meet people, so there was no chance to be lonely.
Tell me about your first on-camera job, and working with Federico Fellini.I spent 10 days working with Fellni on a commercial for a bank. It was shot in Rimini, so it was great to be home. He was very sweet. When he directed me, he told me to just be myself. He said that he wanted to work with me again, but sadly he died shortly after.
What it was like to work with Pierfrancesco Favino on "Nessun messaggio in segreteria"?
It was great to work with Pierfrancesco. He usually plays hard roles, but in this film, he was a little shy and funny. I really enjoyed working with him. I liked my character because she was not only a dancer, she had a big heart and also struggled with loneliness.
What do you think of Italian cinema today and roles that are being offered to women?Well, we are not very international because we produce inexpensive movies. We have a few big directors who are successful outside of Italy, like Gabrielle Salvatores and Gabrielle Muccino. The starring roles usually go to men with supporting roles going to women. I think it's because younger people go to see movies and they prefer younger stories, not a woman's story.
Those tides are changing with a whole new crop of strong female directors and actresses like Laura Bispuri, Anna Foglietta and Paola Cortellesi, just to name a few. These days, Anna Falchi is laying low and embracing her newest adventure in motherhood. Now 43-years-old, she’s an outspoken advocate of health and fitness, and recently made a Red Carpet appearance in support of Rome’s new sports arena, Mondo Fitness.