Catching Up With Inspiring Actress And Filmmaker Francesca De Luca
We recently caught up with Francesca De Luca who has spent her life passionately dedicated to her craft as well as learning and working with some of the best in the film industry, including Francis Ford Coppola. We spoke to Francesca about some of her favorite projects and what projects she has coming up next. Here is what she had to share:
Please give us an introduction to the beginning of your career and when you first got into the entertainment industry:
After deciding acting was my calling, I started out in London, acting in plays, touring theaters in the UK playing roles like Titania in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Juliet in” Romeo and Juliet” and I played a Texan, Carla in “Kennedy’s Children”. My first primetime television TV show hit right at the beginning of my career actually, when I was cast in “Strange But True Encounters”.
I played Countess Albrizzi, who had her head chopped off by her husband and haunted a Palace in Venice! ( laughs) It was based on a true story apparently, as Joan Collins said in the actual episode! I was then cast in “Orpheus and Eurydice” in the lead role of sorceress Agleoniki alongside Oliver Reed. That was filmed in Athens Greece. I think I make a good baddie! I then went onto playing a lead Fiorella in a comedy TV Pilot called “Sundae” which won a Royal Television Society Award. This was about an Anglo- Italian family!
Do you feel like you have grown a lot more as an artist over the years, through your experiences?
Continually! As you grow as a person, your ability to understand people and empathize grows, so when you become more self aware and present, the acting improves dramatically. Also, when you are able to listen to others, your ability to listen as an actor improves. I am also able to be more vulnerable on screen, as tough life experiences have opened me up.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on so far?
There are many I’ve enjoyed , working on comedy as well as drama is something I love to do. I love to move an audience in some way, tell a story, and love to bring characters to life from the script, add depth, make them layered and real. I have a natural sense of comedy and find that the comedy comes from the truth of a character and circumstances around them. With drama, I love to explore parts of myself, go deep, find the vulnerabilities and conflicts and I love to go with the flow bouncing off the other actor, staying open and present. A great script is such a gift to an actor so I am always appreciative of that and it’s something I look for when deciding whether to take on a project.
One of my favorites has to be Francis Ford Coppola’s “Distant Vision”. It was an honor to work with such an iconic director who directed some of my favorite movies! It was a Live Cinema production, a new innovative technique of filming, a cross between film and theater! I couldn’t believe it when I received the audition and callback and was finally cast! Coppola’s way of working is so inspiring, he has amazing attention to detail and knows how to get an amazing authentic performance out of an actor. I mean he’s Coppola, what more can I say?
Also I loved the fact that this film’s subject was about Italian immigrants in New York and set in the forties, a fascinating era. . My heritage is Italian and my ancestors were also immigrants who came over from Italy to both London England and also New York too. I am very proud of them and know it wasn’t easy for them especially in their time. I feel a strong connection to New York as a city, I love the vibrancy of the people and love to visit my New York cousins. I’m an Italian New Yorker at heart I feel! When auditioning for Coppola I joked to him that I use my hands a lot, I’m expressive, that my Italian blood really shows through! He laughed especially as I was using my hands at the time!
What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
Again it has to be working with Francis Ford Coppola on Distant Vision.
Francis Ford Coppola is one of your favorite actors/filmmakers you have worked with so far. What did you learn from him?
So much.. In the callback afternoon workshop I had with Francis and some other actors, even before I was actually cast, he gave wonderful advice. He reminded us of the importance of being authentic as an actor. That we shouldn’t try and copy other actors , be like them , but to embrace who we really are as people and let that shine through. He said the camera picks up on everything , every detail about us and that’s what makes us interesting and watchable. He used examples of when he was filming The Godfather movie and talked about Al Pacino and how natural he was on camera.
This was a great reminder to me, to be authentically me on camera, let my essence shine through! My experience of acting under Coppola’s direction has really spoilt me. He was also so authentic himself, such a sincere warm person, who is completely present as he speaks and listens to you. I connected very easily to him as a person and director. I’m so grateful for that experience.
What other projects do you have coming up?
There are many projects coming up!
I just wrote my first short film, “Coffee”, that’s had really great feedback. It’s a comedy drama that will be filming this month! The talented actor Jon Cioff (who has won best actor in film festivals for The Thrill) is acting opposite me. We work really well together and are both playing Italian American New Yorkers which is a role that comes naturally to me! It will be entered into film festivals around the world! I’m very excited!
Also” Storage” a film I was cast in and filmed very recently is in post production. I also have high expectations for this film, film festival recognition is expected too! Network Television is beckoning. I’ve had lots of interest from major casting directors too. I can’t say much more right now, so watch this space too!
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Keep loving yourself, no matter what, knockbacks are part of the journey! Work on yourself as a person and stay physically fit and healthy. Work on your craft, keep improving, become the best actor you can be, find great teachers and be ready! That confidence will also shine through. Enjoy it! Love it! Enjoy the present, while also taking action on your goals. Keep moving forward, learn about the industry, stay up to date with what’s current. Surround yourself with like minded people, supportive people.
Stay clear of anyone who puts you down or is negative or drains you. You are in this for the long haul, it’s not an easy path, so don’t expect miracles straight away, enjoy the journey. I believe in visualizing your goals and checking in with them. Keep installing love in yourself and have a giving loving attitude to everyone you meet and work with. Don’t give up, but remember to take a break when you need it! And don’t forget to laugh along the way!