Critic meets Mario Ruvio
Lets start with where you were born.
Rome, Italy. 25th October, 1993. I was the only one in my family born in Rome because my father is from Sicily and my mother is from Reggio Calabria. It's tough because Rome is big in a way, like London. It can be tough to survive in the city. Rome is a beautiful city but it's not the right place to pursue the performing arts because Rome doesn't have money for the film industry as it used to. It used to be super cool back in the day, with guys like Fellini.
How did you first get into acting?
I decided to do acting for two main reasons. The first goes back to when I was little, I asked my mom “is there a way to study everything in the world, every job, every expertise, every subject?” She said “No”. Later on, I realized that the only job that allows you to do every other job is acting. So that’s the personal reason. The second one is that my mom is a psychologist, and I have always been into the mind and how it affects us, but also taking into consideration how two minds relates to each other. No matter if it's friends, colleagues, ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, there's always a relationship. Once I became aware of that, I thought to myself, if the psychologist is the doctor of the mind, the actor could be the doctor of the soul. I think acting is the best job in the world and it can help other people to live better. If you ask me what success is, it's not fame. Success is having enough money to take care of the people I love.
What type of roles do you usually go out for?
I have to be pretty honest with myself that starting out, I’m not always going to get the roles I want. So, I always go for the bad guy or the killer. But I would love to play the lover or the guy who saves the girl or even a stoner.
What brought you specifically to LA?
Faith. Destiny. I don't know. I was in the UK, finishing my bachelor's degree. I went to Aberystwyth university for Theatre and Film. In my last week before my exams, I saw on Facebook this post about the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I wanted to do acting and go somewhere where I can go deep into the study of acting. This is not to say the UK was not allowing me to do that. But I just wanted to get training from both sides of the world. The audition was two days after my bachelor degree exam. I realized already it was destiny to go because for some time my friends were calling me the Prince of Wales during those three years. When I ended up at my audition in London, it was at the Prince of Wales theater! A week later I got my acceptance letter. I realized LA was the perfect place for me to establish myself as an actor and work with a lot of people. Besides acting, I also rap in English or Italian and that's why you can call me a Rap-tor.
What would you say the main differences are in acting between Italy and America?
One of the main differences between Italy and America is regarding money and investments. There are a lot of Americans that invest in anything from short films to a full production here. They are willing to invest in young people with ideas in order to bring those projects to life. This just doesn't happen in Italy. No money means no productions. There doesn’t feel to be a way to break the circle. In Rome, there's a lot of people with a lot of talent which is not expressed. Because I studied English when I was little in an American School in Rome, I have the possibility to express here, what I couldn't do in Rome.
What are you doing during Coronavirus?
I was kind of waiting for this in a way. Some divine help for stopping the world so I have time to do all the homework I have to do regarding acting. I'm not only maintaining my actor training and working on accents, but I’m also shooting a lot of short films in the house for my own personal pleasure and for keeping my skills in check. On set, you need to optimize time. Time is always enemy number one. So the more sets we work on, the more we learn how to spend time creating and not setting up equipment. Me and my friend Luca Seretti shot and are currently editing the first episode of this series called There's No Tomorrow which is similar to Black Mirror where each episode has a different cast and story, but the themes are the same. I’ve been editing my new album and my rap videos. We're also optimizing our live production website. So we're doing a lot. We're keeping ourselves busy. Trying to do everything we can do from home. So once the world’s gates open again, we don't have to do any of the stuff we could’ve done at home and focus on shooting all of our projects. When I’m not working, I play some Playstation or cook some lasagna to bring up the mood during this Coronavirus . It’s important to keep your spirit up. There’s a latin saying “Mens sana in corpore sano “you have to keep a fit mind and a fit body”.
What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I was selected into this monologue showcase and it was going to happen a week before the lockdown started but because everything stopped, I'm waiting to see if it will happen after. Even though I want to do film I really believe theater has to be in an actor's life constantly because it's what gives us the connection to the audience. It's not like with a camera. Theatre has been a part of my life from a young age. I think that the world would be a better place if everybody would go to theater instead of going to a therapist. With my rap album, I never came out as the rapper because I've never had the production style to record good quality stuff. Since I came to LA, I found someone who can help me create good quality videos and so I had my first album produced by ZETABEATZ in Italy who won a gold record, and so he made this EP for me with seven tracks. The tracks are done and now being mastered. We're in the middle of shooting videos for each track. So I will come out soon as an Italian rapper who raps in English and in Italian. I already have the next one ready. This is to affirm myself musically that I am capable of rapping in both English and Italian. I realized that it’s important to have a wide spectrum of talents. You can’t just do one thing, you have to expand yourself.
Tell me like the greatest acting note that you were ever given from a teacher or a director.
The best note I got that still stays with me is to never make the scene about you, make it about the people around you. I had thought about this before, but it gave me goosebumps to hear this reaffirmed. It's not about you shining, it's about the other person. Every relationship you have with someone is going to affect how you question and answer them. The whole world does this. Right now, I’m paying very close attention to you, and my answers may change depending on how you react. Learning this was world opening for me.
What advice would you give to an actor starting out?
The best one would be ‘the only failure is giving up’. If you don't allow yourself to accept failure, you will never succeed in any job in the world. Allow yourself to be outside of your comfort zone. Once we fail, we can realize what works. I always quote Thomas Edison. In 1000 attempts, he created the lamp. That means he had to fail 999 times to find the way to build it. My second advice would be to find a group of friends. If you don't have that circle of friends where you can share your fears, joys and everything, then the road of acting is going to be way more difficult. I don't think you can stay in LA without it.
Do you have a favorite play?
William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. I just love it from top to bottom. It’s a play that can teach a lot. It gives a message to people to live better and understand one another. There's the monologue of Shylock where he goes something like , I’m a Jew, you’re a Christian, but do we both not bleed? It is so powerful, so dark, and that that's kind of the style I like.
So we're coming to the end of the interview. This is a new thing that I'm putting into the articles. It is the 10 questions that used to be asked on James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio. Here we go!
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What trait do you admire the most?
Laughter. Or love.
What trait do you admire the least?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
Please repeat, it lagged.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The one that just happened (from the zoom interference)
Okay I’ll put that down!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
Police Officer, of course.
What is your idea of happiness?
I think I will be happy when I have the power to take care of the people I love. It is the same way I look at success.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
You made it here, finally! Or maybe God makes a joke like “I told you I was real!”
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just have some thoughts for the future. When we go back to a time like before the Coronavirus. The situation will not feel normal. We don't know what kind of normal is awaiting us. I think that we are in a very important, historical moment. A great commander once said, “horrible things have to happen in order for great things to happen next”. So, my thoughts for the future are that this will fuel a lot of great stuff, especially on an arts level. At the same time I worry about the state of our world. We can press the reset button altogether. We can decide potentially to stop driving as many cars and switch to renewable sources. This time has really made me think of what we can do as a unit. We are on an edge where we have the chance to come back to a beautiful world or maybe it will become like a jungle. I really don't know what's gonna happen but now I think is the time to act.
Interviewed 05/05/20 by Oliver Boon on Zoom