Massimo Cagnina, Sicily is still on stage in “Il Paradiso delle Signore”

Massimo CagninaMassimo Cagnina is a Sicilian actor, now a well-known face on TV thanks to his role as Ciro Puglisi in the highly popular Rai 1 series “Il Paradiso delle Signore”. But his artistic resume certainly doesn’t end there. Directed by heavyweights such as Paolo Sorrentino and Paolo Genovese, and alongside actors like Ficarra & Picone and Antonio Albanese, his ‘journey’ began in theater before branching out into film and television. Sicilian Secrets interviewed him.

Q: How did your journey as an actor begin?

A: As a young man, I was a fan of Italian comedy by Sordi, Fabrizzi, Totò, and Verdone. Over the years, my passion matured, leading me to pursue training in theater. And so, in 2004, I graduated from the Academy of the Teatro Stabile in Genoa.

Q: Massimo Cagnina: theater, cinema, TV. Which of these three worlds do you like the most?

A: Although I love theater very much, for a few years now I’ve preferred cinema and TV. I find them more enjoyable and less burdened by certain dynamics of cultural arrogance that unfortunately Italian theater carries at almost every level.

Q: Today you’re one of the main characters in “Il Paradiso delle Signore” as Ciro Puglisi. What can you tell us about this role? How did your journey with “Il Paradiso” begin?

A: I went through several auditions, and in the end, I was confirmed for the role. The first thing I did when I received the news was to immediately call my parents, and my mother, hearing me scream with joy, thought something serious had happened!

Massimo Cagnina
Massimo Cagnina

Q: Ciro Puglisi, like you, is Sicilian, a man of the ’60s suddenly thrust into Milan and gradually adapting to a modernity that isn’t his own. How did you prepare for this role? What do Massimo Cagnina and Ciro have in common?

A: The role of this character seems tailor-made for me, so much so that I immediately felt comfortable in it. He possesses both comedy and authority, aspects that – in terms of acting – belong to me as well. Massimo and Ciro share a certain sly clumsiness, which is used somewhat to justify a mental laziness, but in the end, he always manages to overcome it. In this aspect, Ciro resembles me.

Q: What is the routine like on the set of “Il Paradiso delle Signore”?

A: On the set of “Il Paradiso delle Signore”, we shoot many scenes per day. It’s a close-knit group of highly skilled workers, a great family that collaborates energetically and cheerfully. How is it? Really very good.

Massimo Cagnina and Emanuel Caserio – “Il Paradiso delle Signore”

Q: Speaking of you, what is your connection with Sicily? How much does your Sicilian identity influence your work?

A: My bond with Sicily is very strong. During the pandemic, I reconnected with it and ended up living there again after many years of wandering through various Italian cities. It’s from my land that I draw the sap to recharge myself artistically as well. For me, now, it’s essential to live there. I only leave for filming, of course, but then – once the project I’m engaged in is completed – I return permanently, even during the long breaks between one job and another.

Q: Is there a place in Sicily where you would like to act out?

A: Sicily is like a vast open-air set. It often happens to shoot films set on the island; the last one I filmed, for example, was in the Madonie. A beautiful film about the popular magic of the post-war period. It’s yet to be released…

Massimo Cagnina and Gioia Spaziani – “Il Paradiso delle Signore”

Q: Currently, what is the professional experience that you remember with the most pleasure?

A: I’m very attached to the films I’ve done with Antonio Albanese, especially “Qualunquemente” and “Cetto C’è”, both directed by Giulio Manfredonia. I loved working on the series “La Fuggitiva” with Carlei and with Sorrentino in “The New Pope”. But even “I Leoni di Sicilia” by Paolo Genovese is a series in which I took part with great pleasure.

Q: Lastly: any (professional) projects and desires for the future?

A: For now, I’m enjoying the success that Ciro in “Il Paradiso delle Signore” is bringing me. As for the future, I don’t really think about it too much!

Massimo Cagnina has taken us behind the scenes of “Il Paradiso delle Signore”… and more. But our news do not end here. Sicilian Secrets always tells you about some new stories on this blog. And if you wish to stay updated about our news and read our next articles, follow us on Sicilian Secrets’ Facebook page and Instagram.
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