Interview with Salvatore Striano (Actor)
How did you get to participate in the project? Was there a casting process for the film?
I was called by director Alessandro Piva to studio in Rome. We talked about the script and during the interview he decided that I had to be the character of contrast, the rebel who opposed the orders of the boss. The name of Piranha was chosen by the director because we agreed that the features of my character had to be those of a piranha that eats everyone very quickly.
You lived as a fugitive in Spain before turning to theatre, how did you become involved in crime when you were younger and how do you remember those days?
I was involved in the criminal world from an early age to defend my family from the harassment that the Camorristi of my neighborhood exercised over it. I was born in the Spanish quarters of Naples and between the mid-80s and early 90s the Camorra was both a fashion and a very powerful organization. At that time the only way to defend myself was to take up arms and stop the Camorristi bullying us.
What did you find in acting and theatre to change your life?
Theater and cinema brought new things inside me so it gradually changed my life. The stages taught me to have a new language, new attitudes. Cinema, with its powerful visibility, has given me the opportunity to make myself known for the new and good things that I was starting to do. Cinema and theater were a life gym where I could change my behavior by learning to control myself and be less instinctive. I needed the stage to renew my soul, to put serenity in my heart, to look at the audience in front of me and no longer have look back to avoid a policeman or an enemy who wanted to attack me.
Most of the times you've portrayed criminals in movies, do you think that stereotype will go away to start with more dramatic or romantic characters?
No, surely it would help me to prove as an artist who can interpret more characters from the comedies, to romances, to dramas. Labeled or not, cinema remains fiction and does not create victims but emotions, so I also accept to take the label of the actor for vicious roles, but in my heart I know I'm a socially useful artist. Certain action films can be the mirror of evil where children can project themselves without running the risk of getting hurt and where they can understand that the underworld is not a path to follow.
How would you describe Piranha, your character in the movie?
A ruthless criminal. An unscrupulous man that in real life has shown all his ferocity. Portraying him was very touching because you end up browsing in the life of a person you would have never become.
How would you describe Mafia Millionaires? Why viewers across the world should not miss this movie?
Charismatic, fascinating, enough to be able to mesmerize young people. Shakespearean because his destiny is eventually led by the woman he marries. Truthful because in reality these men eventually almost always die, almost always repent of all their crimes.
Having taken part of that underworld, how different or accurate is the representation of the criminal world in films compared to reality?
The cinematographic representation is close to reality but never represents it completely. It depicts the surface but not the real monster unless the author himself is responsible for the crimes he represents. The criminal world is full of poverty and marginalization but usually it is not represented in this way and it is preferred to exalt its charm. But the charm of crime, gentlemen, does not exist!
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