Antonio Catania was born in Sicily in 1952 and – let me say – has Sicily…in his name. He became popular thanks to the movie Mediterraneo by Gabriele Salvatores and collected many other successes while playing in some memorable movies such as Chiedimi se sono felice by Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo. I’m sure you never forgot the basketball match they played all together at piazza dei Mercanti in Milan. Sicilian Secrets interviewed him, read more on our blog.
Life isn’t enough. One life isn’t enough for me. There aren’t enough days. Too many things to do, too many ideas. Every sunset upsets me because another day has gone by.
from the movie Mediterraneo, Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (1992)
Q: How did your relationship with acting and theater begin?
A: The first performances I used to attend were puppets shows – the so-called Opera dei Pupi – where my grandmother used to take me in Catania. It’s something that influenced me a lot, storytellers and lifestyle that some Sicilian characters have definitely left their mark.
Q: Antonio Catania: theater, cinema and TV. How do you deal with these three universes?
A: I always performed on the stage. Now I live in Rome, but I studied in Milan at the Civica Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi, used to perform as a stand-up comedian at Derby and Zelig. So, I met some people such as Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo. Then I moved to the capital, the city of cinema. For me the stage and the direct contact I have with the audience cannot be replaced by anything else, moreover I can immediately see if they like me or not. To make a movie cannot give me anything like this, for sure – like TV – it’s easier and in the end I’m less physically tired. Often, TV is just commercial.
Q: What’s the magic of acting? And what’s your story?
A: When I was living in Milan, I started working at Teatro Elfo Puccini. There I met Gabriele Salvatores and we started making movies together. I was feeling something weird happening into my soul, I found some childhood memories in which I recognized myself, the man I had become. Sicily was the leitmotiv of my life; everything was so natural. Let me say that experience makes a huge difference. You learn that sometimes you can even make mistakes, but above all you learn from other people: Dario Fo, Franco Parenti and many other colleagues I worked with. You never end to learn, to copy, to steal. If you think to know everything, you’re wrong.
Q: Sicily and Antonio Catania: what’s your bond?
A: In summer, I generally go to Sicily. I love Pantelleria, for example. I have a strong bond with my land. I have to go: my memories and my childhood are there and are connected to a colorful world. Whatever is related to Sicily is interesting and touches my heart, it makes me curious. Many Sicilians who left their home, in the end come back.
Q: What’s one of the movies that has a special place in your heart?
A: Mediterraneo, the movie that made me famous but above all that represents the beginning of my life in the cinema world. There are also some other movies that I happily remember such as Pane e tulipani and some films that even if weren’t see by many people, are very beautiful.
Q: Let’s take a look at the future, do you have any project in Sicily?
A: In Sicily I performed in Catania, Palermo and many theaters. Even some movie sets were there, such as the one of L’ora legale with Ficarra e Picone, filmed in Termini Imerese. But right now, I don’t have any program there around. Now I’m on tour with the show Anfitrione. We just ended at Teatro della Pergola in Florence and will do some other stops in Tuscany after Xmas, up to February.