Anna Mazzamauro: «Village called me «toilet» on TV. But before he died he told me: how beautiful you are »- Corriere.it

“Miss Silvani,” she says to herself. The cunning cruelty of Fantozzi, the rivalry with Pina, the laughter with Filini. And then real life, with a man who cheated (and robbed) her


Anna Mazzamauro lives in Rome. We speak by phone. late morning.

good morning

«Good morning, waking up is always tragic for me. I do everything at night except love because I’m alone ».

Have you been alone for a long time?

“The man I loved was near me for twenty-five years, then he couldn’t take it anymore: he died.”

Is it that difficult to be close to Anna Mazzamauro?

‘I won’t tell her. If I don’t go on stage I’m nothing, I don’t know where to go, I don’t know what to do. I am 83 years old and I have already told my daughter that for my coffin they must use the wooden planks of the stage ».

In fact, she’s still working, touring with a show inspired by “her” Miss Silvani, the woman loved by Fantozzi and perhaps one of the most beloved figures in Italian culture.

“But do you know that I did the audition to play Pina?”

But no.

«I knew Luciano Salce, the director. They were looking for a very ugly woman and he remembered me. Trouble was, I didn’t know they were looking for a cesspool, actually a ‘beautiful atypical’ as I say, so I showed up dressed up, with a curly hair bonnet, heels and a tight red dress. Salce looked at me confused and said “Anna, I remembered you as uglier”. I was about to lose the role when Paolo (Village, edit) approached and whispered to the director: “No, we need a woman who will make Fantozzi fall in love. This one is full of flaws, but he wears them on heels. And that’s how my life changed forever ».

“Signorina Silvani” was born without a first name. Not beautiful but smart, lonely and desperate who says yes to every man she meets. Because?

“You said well, ‘lonely and desperate’. I wanted to create a prototype of a woman who hid great misery behind the ongoing sex stories she was looking for. If she’s voted Miss Fourth Floor at Megaditta, it’s because she’s really committed to all the men on the first, second, and third floors. But that’s not enough to fill that loneliness. Even if they marry her off to Calboni, I’ll always have poor Miss Silvani, who, in short, has to pretend to be pregnant with Fantozzi. A tragic figure that made whole generations laugh.”

And then there was the office: the character of the clerk was born, company flirts, desk friendships.

“I copied everything from my mother, who worked at the Treasury. The silk blouse under the pullover, the high-heeled shoes stowed in the bag and the comfortable ones for the tram. A kind of woman who transforms when needed, who knows how to transform well. And so Miss Silvani was holy and demonic depending on the situation. The little hearts, the cheap necklaces, the spit in the blush: these were my inventions, because this woman must have been terrible, the only one Fantozzi could have wished for in her moral and material need.

You have been working with Villaggio for twenty years. have you become friends

“Never. When I asked him why we didn’t meet up off set, he replied, ‘I only hang out with the rich and famous.’ I never knew when he was joking or when he was showing the rougher side of his temper. How all exceptionally intelligent people, Paul knew how to be cruel.Moreover, it must be taken into account that he had appeared late, almost forty years old: he was imbued with an air of resentment for everything he had to overcome before success ».

But then success came to him.

«Yes, but Paolo wasn’t happy. Once we shot in Courmayeur; he came up to me and said: “Strehler wants me to play the role of the good soldier Schwejk”. I replied: “Excellent, you are the good soldier of the Megaditta. You’re going to say yes, aren’t you? “. He did not answer. Then nothing came of it: I understood that it was enough that he had received this proposal. He was full only because a great director called him. At work he was a very respectful man: he was it who came to my trailer to check the role, it was he who asked the director to remake a scene because I hadn’t come out well ».

Privately, however, it was freezing cold.

‘I’ll tell you this anecdote. Shortly before his death, when he was already in a wheelchair, we went to Barbara d’Urso’s TV living room to tell Fantozzi. When the host asked him how he chose me, he didn’t get upset and replied: “How to choose a toilet?”. I then replied dryly: “But you have earned a lot with this toilet”. He didn’t answer. We left the television studios. I walked over, got out my checkbook and said, “Can we be friends now?” He didn’t speak for a few minutes. Then he looked at me and said, “How beautiful you are”. They were the last words Paolo said to me and I understood all of his greatness, his humanity that was perhaps hidden behind an obvious cruelty. We are actors, we always act ».

And Milena Vukotic, that’s Mrs. Pina Fantozzi, are you friends today?

“No, not at all. First of all, we were rivals because she was the wife and I was the lover: of course we played, but it didn’t really make me want to be friends. In reality, no one on this set could be friends with anyone. And do you know why?Because Fantozzi’s films are extraordinary in turning the office, family, emotional relationships and friendships into big Dante circles.You ended up afraid of being sucked into this hellish maelstrom and so you have all yours Colleagues carefully avoided. Only with the accountant Filini I laughed a lot. But only between scene and scene, not off the set.”

The great Gigi Reder.

‘I called him Gigi driver because we looked like two middle school students: we made jokes, commented on the scenes with dirty phrases, in short, we had fun. And Paolo looked at us smiling, with a touch of envy, I think: he was already a star and could not afford the excesses of old theater actors ».

And Mariangela, this is the actor Plinio Fernando, how is she?

“Bizarre. Sometimes she’d stay in her little girl’s clothes between takes, only to be picked up by an unsuspecting extra who didn’t realize she was cuddling a little girl but a mature boy. And very smart!”

Anna, who was the great love of your life?

«Nello Riviè, whom I knew from my student days, but wasn’t spinning at the time. We met later and we were together until his death (2002, edit.). It was a great love, even though I’ve never said “I love you” in my life, every time I hear that expression I feel like I’m in a bad movie ».

have you ever betrayed him

“No, but while we were together in my life, a man appeared. And then I made the mistake that many women make: I thought there was who knows what moral depth behind this gentleman’s taciturn manner. Only later did I realize that he was silent because he had nothing to say. So at the beginning a kind of addiction started: I tried to interest him by giving him books and theater tickets. He did not shorten the distance, he remained closed in his impenetrability. Until he started asking me for loan money: first six million (old lire, edit.), then ten. In short, I found myself betrayed and robbed. I went back to Nello ».

Did he understand?

«Yes, because he understood that I “made a film”, as they say in Rome. I was just playing the role of a woman losing her head to a mysterious figure, nothing more. I was an actress, I am an actress. Point”.

She also played Cyrano.

“Because I think she’s very feminine as a character. He suffers from his nose, but he well knows that with other qualities, inner ones, one can achieve unexpected goals. What happens to me on stage: I feel beautiful, sensual, free. It never occurred to me to touch up my nose or draw my face: I have a much more powerful cosmetic operation, a theater. I can be anything, saint and whore, good or bad, pretty or ugly. If to this day I feel like the audience finally erupts in thunderous applause, I think I did really well as an actress. And don’t talk to me about death: I’m an atheist, heaven and hell are beautiful stories, but I also see Dante’s talent. Any other story is a badly written story.”

May 2, 2022 (Modification May 2, 2022 | 09:30)

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