Roberta Rigano was born in 1990, she is a Sicilian actress who took the first steps in the show business in Acireale and – thanks to her constant commitment – was chosen to be part of the cast of several TV series and movies. The big leap? Hollywood. Sicilian Secrets interviewed her.
Q: How did you approach the show business?
A: When I was a child, my father made me discover the beauty of singing. So, when I was more or less 4 years old, he enrolled me in a song contest in my town, Acireale, called ‘L’ora del dilettante’, it’s very famous for those who love our carnival and music. For me, everything has started there, I was singing ‘Nel Blu dipinto di Blu’, there was a huge crowd in front of me, I perfectly remember that moment, that emotion led me to move my first steps towards my current job, I was determined to live every day of my life like that one, with magic.
Q: Who played a fundamental role in your career as an actress?
A: My family. My parents were my ‘life coaches’ and without their support I would not have had the perseverance to pursue this dream, they are and have always been my strength.
Q: Roberta Rigano and Sicily, what’s your bond?
A: Sicily is my island, my home, my family: it is the most beautiful place in the world. It is the land that forged my character, my inclinations, my nostalgic soul, my love for Greek literature and theater. The land taught me to live with tenacity and diligence, continuously looking for pure beauty.
Q: Is there a place or maybe a theater in Sicily where you would like to perform?
A: Actually, I’d like to improve the art of theater in my town, Acireale. One of my desires is to be able to take over one of the beautiful theaters that we have, closed for decades, and to create a thriving theatrical reality again, a possibility of cultural exchange and growth, in a city of architectural charm and richness rare in the world.
Q: What can you tell us about the Netflix series you are shooting now in Los Angeles?
A: The series is based on the best-selling book of the same name ‘From Scratch’ by Tembi Locke. It is a love story between an American woman and a Sicilian man, two worlds, two cultures and two mentalities that meet and complete each other in a very romantic way. Now we are shooting in Hollywood, soon we will move to Italy, in Florence and Cefalù. The protagonist is the wonderful Zoe Saldana, with her there are also Eugenio Mastrandrea and – to complete the Sicilian family – Lucia Sardo, Paride Benassai and me.
Q: How was to work with some actors like Mark Ruffalo? What have you learned from this experience?
A: To working with these actors is always an immense emotion and an opportunity to learn more. I was lucky, Mark Ruffalo is the humblest and most talented actor you can meet. He’s kind and helpful with everybody, he always brought positive vibes during the shooting of ‘I Know This Much Is True’. Thanks to him first, and to Zoe Saldana nowadays, I have the example of how a great actor always stands out for humility, resilience, pure heart. Here, they always make you feel part of their family and as an Italian, this atmosphere immediately makes me feel at home.
Q: What do you think is your most unforgettable professional experience so far?
A: It is the one I lived on the set of ‘I Know This Much Is True’, Derek Cianfrance directed me like no one has ever directed me: with passion, listening to my requests and needs, helping and inspiring me in all ways, giving me all possible tools. In particular, one of the last days of shooting, Marcello Fonte and I had to shoot a very delicate scene of violence, and Cianfrance treated me as I wish any actor to be treated. With respect, professionalism, love, tact. I remember our hug during that scene, we cried together for something that hadn’t happened in ‘reality’, but he emotionally helped me to get out of a trauma that I had just experienced on stage, after multiple takes. I have never felt so protected and respected on stage, it is one of the best memories I have.
Q: If you could choose now, who would you like to act with? Is there any role you would like to play?
A: I would say Meryl Streep, she is a goddess who came down to Earth to explain and show us what it means to be an actress. When I watch her act, I just think ‘I would like to be her, think like her, have her intentions, her timing, her gestures’. So, to be able to observe her on a set, for me it would be gold.I would like to play a character with a strong character, very masculine in attitude, a bit borderline in personality. I am always curious to investigate every human soul, at this stage of my life I would like to work on my masculine side.
Q: Last question, are you going to join any other projects after the series you are shooting?
A: Absolutely yes! But for now, I can only tell you that I’d like to talk about it together in the future!