Luca Malacrino is a Italian-Welsh actor who started his professional life in the hospitality industry. From the age of 14 Luca worked in his father’s restaurants, which eventually resulted in owning two nightclubs in the centre of Cardiff. At the age of 22 Luca decided to up everything and become a Hollywood actor. If you’ve ever thought of making a career change, Luca is the man to speak to. And Campbell Prosser does exactly that.
So, I understand you came into acting relatively late.
I had no idea about acting to be honest with you, but I was at a barbeque with friends and someone posed the question: “If you could be anything you like, what would it be?”. I instinctively said “acting” and my best friend Scott, he made me book an acting class then and there online. Before I know it I’m performing at St. David’s Hall in a live sit-com.
How did you decide to move to Los Angeles?
I starred and got cast as the lead in a short film produced in Wales called Managed. At that point I decided to take this seriously, so I sold up both my businesses, auditioned for AMDA in Hollywood and they offered me a scholarship. So I set off without knowing anybody into the big scary entertainment industry.
What was it like to work with Francis Ford Coppola?
The big break for me was working with Francis Ford Coppola, I auditioned for a project with him called Distant Vision. That’s basically (Coppola) testing a new style of cinematography which is a mixture of live theatre and movie making. I got to work with (Coppola) and gained some great coaching and advice. The guy’s not young, he’s been doing this a long long time and to be honest I thought he was going to be relaxed but he had so much passion, drive and energy it was just amazing.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished Criminal Minds, which aired last week in America. I can’t tell you too much because it’s a secret [laughs]. That was an amazing experience just being on such a professional set within months after graduating. I played the son of a notorious murderer in Florence from decades ago, one of the biggest serial killers Italy has ever had. Plus it was an Italian character with an Italian accent, which was FUN, it was great going back to my Italian heritage and roots. At the moment it’s pilot season — we’ve put together a pilot called Served and it’s a 30 minute dramatic comedy, based in the hospitality industry and I was lucky enough to be brought on as an executive producer on this pilot at the same time as starring in it.
Do people in L.A. know where Wales is?
To be honest with you, yeah a lot of people do, especially Cardiff. In terms of perceptions people talk about rugby a lot, which is great. Also, when I mention I’m from Wales people talk about beautiful scenery and they always talk about how friendly the people are. It’s very uplifting.
Would you ever consider coming back to the UK to work? or even Wales?
I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open for work in the UK because there some beautiful studios and especially in Wales, there are a lot more large productions that are actually coming to that end. This would obviously be a dream, to come back to Wales and film, whether it’s a feature or a series. That would be a beautiful breath of fresh air to come back on home soil.
With the newfound positivity critical reception of TV shows at the moment, would your focus still be on being in films?
I think film eventually. TV has been a great entry point for me, obviously it’s a very competitive industry, especially in L.A. I feel very versatile and I love character work, breaking down real life people and stepping through myself and reaching out to them. This seems to be more accessible in feature films because the arc is sometimes a little bigger. So yeah, that’s fundamentally what I’m going to be looking for this year.
Who are your heroes or role models?
Well, this is always a fun question for me because I feel role models in life are crucial. I feel one of the key motivators in life is always having a role model. From an acting point of view, I would have to say Johnny Depp, a fantastic character actor, the guy’s a chameleon. Also, obviously Al Pancino, he has always been a big idol of mine. I’ve watched all his movies back to front and studied them vigorously. In terms of day to day living — my family. I’ve been lucky to have such an amazing supporting family.
If you had to pin down a Pacino film as your favourite?
Godfather Part II is a no brainer, but… Dog Day Afternoon is just incredible.
words CAMPBELL PROSSER