We probe Don Pietro’s former protégé following his returns to the Neapolitan streets
UK fans can’t get enough of the shocking storylines centred around the Savastano family, ever since the first season of Gomorrah aired on our screens in 2014. The global phenomenon that depicts the real-life events, based on Roberto Saviano’s accounts of the infamous Camorra, has one character at the heart of its narrative. Through Ciro, we have explored a cut-throat life of organised crime in Naples, as he rose in the ranks of the mafia hierarchy during season one and two.
With the release of Gomorrah – The Complete Third Series on DVD and Blu-ray, we sat down with the esteemed actor, Marco D’Amore, to find out more about the making of the show.
Viewers have quickly become acquainted with Ciro as someone who is more than just a gangster – which is what initially attracted the D’Amore to the role. “Playing a character like Ciro di Marzio is a gift for any actor because of his psychological evolution and ability to shift from such deep and different states of mind. Ciro is a peak or an abyss, depending on your perspective.” The development has been seamless throughout each season. “Like Gustav Klimt’s The Three Ages of Woman. In the same way, Ciro went through three ages over the three seasons. The first was almost a wild and irresponsible adolescence; the second a ruthless and shrewd maturity; the third into old age, like an autumnal, melancholic character.”If not Ciro, we wanted to find out who else the actor would want to play and why: “I am so in love with my character, and at the same time with the wonderful performances from my friends, that I cannot imagine myself in any other role in Gomorrah!”
If you haven’t binged the third season already, D’Amore promises even more arresting drama to compel you: “Our focus was to maintain the quality of the production and the powerful stories, which audiences have come to expect. There are also changes to the location: with more beauty and darkness from the suburbs of Naples, to the alleys of the Mediterranean.”Ciro’s change of scenery to Bulgaria has quite an impact on the actor. “Having the chance to film abroad – on an artistic and personal level – the experience cannot be rivaled. For me, it also represented a great challenge, grappling with a different language to speak for a whole episode. I’ll let the viewers judge!”
The tense drama and graphic violence deliver an even greater impact due to its roots in reality, which have been challenging to portray.“Very often we find ourselves staging violent and cruel events that are alive in people’s memories today. As a citizen of Campania, I have always felt a strong responsibility for this. I have always been pushed by the need not to remain silent about the facts but tell them so that people from other cultural backgrounds are aware.” Despite this, the experience has been memorable for D’Amore in a positive way. “Being with my fellow actors, the crew, the directors and all the men and women that work with us every day has been a source of great joy and pride for me.
Due to filming scenes in the real locations and being around locals who have a first-hand experience of the Camorra, we wondered how this influenced the actor’s preparation. “It hasn’t been easy in territories like ours. Nevertheless, I developed a kind of special sense that helped me to determine where certain people’s ideologies and loyalties lie. Rather than approaching Camorristi, I did the reverse process by approaching the people who live in the places that have been affected. This helped me to believe that the story we were telling was necessary.” This includes meeting Roberto Saviano himself. “I am so lucky to be able to say that I am a friend of Roberto. I had the opportunity to tell him what I wanted to tell him, hugging him and thanking him – which is just between the two of us.”
We wanted to get D’Amore’s views on the anti-heroines of Gomorrah, in relation to their male counterparts. “The role of women in Gomorrah is so central – the characters have such emotional and psychological complexities. A female figure that subjugates to men’s will doesn’t exist. In Gomorrah, women have and manage power. They make decisions, whilst being violent and loving at the same time.” The actor also addressed the reactions to the show from the throngs of fans. “Someone tattooed our faces on their skin! Others have imitated the look of the characters and one fan confessed that they’ve watched every single episode more than 10 times. This is just an indication of how popular Gomorrah – The Series has become. Thanks to so much fondness and esteem, any criticisms just dissolve like sugar in coffee. Naples coffee, of course!”
During his spare time, D’Amore appreciates a good crime drama like we all do: “I am a great fan of the noir genre in general. I recently enjoyed watching TV series Midnight Sun, which won a prestigious award, here in Italy.” As well as noir, you might have recognised D’Amore from Susanne Bier’s drama, Love is All You Need, starring opposite Nordic Noir icons like Trine Dyrholm, Kim Bodnia and Paprika Steen. “It was one of the highlights of my career, as well as being a great honour. Being able to watch how they work has taught me so much. I must also admit that I have always been a great admirer of the work of Susanna Bier and of the actors who have starred in her movies. I will never be grateful enough for the chance they gave me.”
For those of you who love the Italian culture on screen as much as we do, we leave you with Marco D’Amore’s words of temptation: “Naples is a metropolis in the highest regard as a unique and universal place. Unique because it is like no other, universal because anyone who goes there can recognize a piece of their home. Throughout history, it has become a Greek city by conformation, a Spanish city by habit, and French by ambition. Naples is a city that cannot be visited but lived. What are you waiting for?”
Interview by Antony Smith