matilda lutz: an italian talent in hollywood

Born in Milan, but with an international mind-set and background, Matilda Lutz is a talented artist who is living her American dream. After she met Muccino and moved to Los Angeles, the career of young Matilda (26 years old) started rocketing, so much so that Giorgio Armani picked her to be the protagonist, with James Jagger, of a series of short films directed by Fabien Constant for the launch of two new Emporio Armani fragrances. We met her in Milan and we asked her to tell us about her love for cinema, her life in Los Angeles and her upcoming projects.

 How was you passion for acting born?
Actually, a little by chance. I attended the scientific high school and I was very shy, I was afraid that acting was not my calling, the mere thought of standing before an audience terrorized me. After high school I went to New York, were I attended an acting course, just to try and defeat my shyness. That’s when I realized that I felt really free when I acted and played roles. I did not feel judged. I was free to say and do whatever I liked, because people were not judging me, Matilda, but the character I was playing. This feeling of utter freedom had me fall for acting.

How was your encounter with Gabriele Muccino?
I was working in an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles and he was there, having dinner with his wife. The restaurant’s owner, who knew me very well, knew that I like Muccino, so he introduced me to him. I used to follow the posts he wrote on his Facebook page about the differences between American and Italian people, on things he likes and dislikes about the United States and Italy. So I wrote a few lines inspired by one of his posts, but I couldn’t imagine he would read it. Instead it grabbed his attention, and he invited me for a screen test for his movie.

How did you like working with him?
An incredible experience. Especially if you consider the locations where we went to film the movie. We went to Cuba, San Francisco, Rome and New Orleans, with Brando Pacitto and Taylor Frey, whom I immediately befriended. We have created, outside the set, that special chemistry that is perceivable in the film too. We used to go out together and spend evening chatting and chilling out together. One night in Cuba we went to attend a live music performance and it was really like being in the same film.

How was your encounter with Armani?
The first time I met Mr Armani was at the Milan’s premier of Muccino’s film L’estate addosso, with friends and family. He was in the audience and I was anxious (ride, Ed.). Following the film screening, he came and complimented us. My father, moreover, had worked on a campaign for Armani. The other coincidence is that when I was 17, I was asked to interview Beyoncé in Madrid before her gig. A project that was conceived for the launch of the perfume Diamonds by Emporio Armani. I wrote three diary pages in which, as a fan, I interviewed her and I was the youngest correspondent of the time.

When did you move to Los Angeles?
I have been living there on a regular basis for three years. During the first three months I travelled back and forth from the USA to Italy, because I was playing in a series. One year on, the first film arrived.

The Ring, your first American film, a 3D horror movie…
Actually, I am not a big fan of horror movies, because I get pretty scared, I start seeing and hearing things and can’t get any sleep, so I generally avoid watching them. But playing in one was really fun, most of all the action scenes. Since it was my first American movie, I rehearsed a lot with the stunt coordinator, one of the most prominent in Hollywood. Then there are all those backstage tricks, the special effects: the mere make-up of Samara takes six hours.

How are you getting on in Los Angeles?
When I moved there, everybody had something negative to say about Los Angeles. My brother was already living there so I went to visit him and then I decided to stay. I immediately liked it very much owing to its energy and because you can really enjoy nature, despite being in a in city. Also one can lead a healthy lifestyle: everybody wakes up early, goes to bed early, because clubs close at 2am, almost everybody eats healthy and makes a lot of outdoor sports. The best thing about Los Angeles is that in every district there is a different lifestyle: a Silver Lake you can find New York’s lifestyle, underground and rock and roll; in Santa Monica you have the sea, surfing, jogging at dusk, in West Hollywood there are more clubs and social life.

Do you miss Italy?
I terribly miss the food, after many months in the States one almost forgets the taste of true food, like strawberries. I miss the aperitif with my fiends and walking in the narrow alleys of our cities.

When you are not working, what are your passions?
What I enjoy the most is travelling; indeed I have just taken a week off and everyday I am going to a different place. I like discovering new places. I also enjoy visiting and living the cities and places while I am acting in a movie, this grants me the chance to stay in the same place for two months, not as a tourist, but as a local, as I can get around with part of the local crew.

Your last journey?
I went to Lerici, Sestri Levante, Portofino. Then I visited Florence and Pietrasanta. In Florence I went to the Teatro della Pergola, which I had never seen, then I hired I bike and cycled around town, with no specific destination, just getting lost and discovering unexpected corners, with no plans.

Together Stronger, the series for Emporio Armani. How was the feeling with film-director Fabien Constant and with James Jagger?
Both James and Fabien, the film-director, made the atmosphere on the set really laid-back. There was a screenplay, but no written lines, hence Fabien granted us enough freedom for improvisation. James and I gave birth to all those magic moments between us, while we were playing, running after each other in this love story. James is a fantastic person and we played like when one falls in love and feel a little child again.

The series is set in New York and you are Laura, a writer.
Yes, I play the part of a writer, who is also keen on photography. That’s how I feel, actually. I love creativity, photography, acting, writing, I’d like to try directing one day. Laura is a carefree woman, self-confident, she does what she feels like doing, she follows her instincts.

Of all the scenes, which one did you find most entertaining?
I enjoyed the taxi scene very much, I felt I was in one of those movies from the ‘60s and a bit in Sex and the city. Running on high heels, while generally I wear jeans, t-shirt and Converse.

A secret wish?
In my future I see direction. And I’d like to be a Bond girl, playing in an action movie. I’d also like a dramatic role too, may favourite actress is Meryl Streep.

Have you found love? Where do you imagine yourself to be in a few years?
Maybe (she giggles, Ed). I find it difficult to think about finding love. Although I am partly American, I feel very much European, and many things have me think that one day I’ll come back to Italy. Not very soon though, because I am happy to be living in Los Angeles, where there’s a wealth of opportunities, and I am learning a lot. In some auditions I find myself competing with very important and famous actors, which can be intimidating, but at the same time this provides me with the stamina to keep going and improving every day, and keeps me with my feet on the ground.

Matilda Lutz @Elite Milano
All photos by Luigi Miano

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