An Interview with Francesco Cura
Many of you may think of Francesco Cura’ as an almost abstract Felliniesque mysterious figure. You’d be right.
Even under the California sunrays he maintained an air of night around him; somewhat of a thin line that runs between a baroque aristocrat and a southern charmer.
And not to my surprise, considering his now infamous unpredictability, he picked a very unusual site for our interview – The Glendale Equestrian Center.
After driving for 25 minutes trying to find my way into the ranch, I walked my way up to find Mr. Cura sitting atop a red quarter horse. The effect was rather confusing and partly ironic: a modern day Casanova forced into the set of a Leone western.
Upon seeing me arrive, the young actor dismounted the animal and greeted me with a big hug and that baritonal laughter he’s become known for. The wardrobe consisted of a pair of red vintage jeans, extremely worn in leather boots and a velvet purple cincinnati bengals t shirt I’d be happy to die in. The unusual dark tan emphasized those blue eyes in an accentuated way (but some credit should be given to the already mentioned sunny sky). Crowning the entire puzzle: a head of thick, disheveled hair and an unshaven face. Contradiction in the flesh.
He chose this particular venue because he’s been spending most of his time with horses lately, preparing for an upcoming project. But even that was left in the mystery. This time I was determined not to let this illusive individual laugh his way through an in-depth interview. But if you encounter a smile like his, you just have to carry the cross all the way up.
And here we go…
L. First of all, before anything else, where did you get that shirt?
F. You like it?
L. I love it.
F. It’s yours!
(With that, he removed the cincinnati bengals t shirt and playfully tossed it to me, remaining with just a tank top. Did I mention that cross?)
L. (laughing) Thank you.
F. You’re welcome, ma’am. (Said with a perfect Southern accent)
L. What’s been the biggest influence on you as an actor?
F. What do you mean by “what”? An ice cream? Do you mean “who”?
L. Yes. Who has been your biggest influence?
F. I would say that all we actors owe something to Marlon Brando. So, that’s whom I’d say. Brando brought the Renaissance after the Middle Ages of acting. So, if we can be considered good painters it is because of his teachings. I think he was the Wizard of OZ.
L. It’s reported that you finally sing in your next film. So, you sing. You paint. You act. What is your greatest love and what’s the difference between them?
F. There’s no greatest love. They (these disciplines) share me equally and each one gets a different part of me. But I do go through life singing…so, I guess I’d love to substitute conversations with operas.
L. You have the reputation of being one of the most likeable people in Hollywood. But you also have been accused of being overly evasive of the media and a hard person to really get to know. Why is that?
F. (laughs) I just don’t think people would be interested in knowing me outside of what I do through my job. I don’t want to run the risk of boring people by being questioned in usually formatted interviews. (Pause) Not that your interview has anything wrong in it (laughs). But there are actors who are far more reclusive then I am.
L. So you’re afraid of boring people. What else scares you?
F. You sound like a psychologist, now (laughs)
L. I’ve heard that before (laughs). No, what really scares you?
F. Many things. One of them is Spiders. They scare me to death. It’s not knowing what they think. But I would say that all the things that scare me exercise a mysterious power over me. I’ve always been attracted to making myself a victim of my own anguish. That’s why I often wake up in bed shaking the walls.
L. You’re fascinating. And I think we’re getting somewhere. Tell me: are you a night person or a day person? And why?
F. I am both. Night is the time when my spirit becomes unleashed. There’s nothing like a black wall lit by a candle. It resurrects my intimacy with myself. Day is the time of gaining real life experience. Most of my memories from the past are the ones related to daylight. Night and day are extremely balanced: If we humans could be as gentle to each other as the Moon and the Sun are with one another, this would be a much better world.
L. Indeed. What is the hardest thing about being Francesco Cura’?
F. Are you going to write my answer down?
F. Ok. Just wanted to make sure. (Laughs) There’s no hardest thing because there are no real hard things to begin with. So, I might tell you what the least pleasant thing about being myself is. It’s not being able to attend a kindergarten. I’d love to be as thoughtless and as impulsive as when I would piss in those tires with my friends.
L. What’s the best part of being Francesco Cura’ – today?
F. I saw that one coming (laughs).
L. Go ahead.
F. The best part is to be able to go to my backyard and still piss in my garden (laughs). If I had to be serious, now, I’d say that the best part is being surrounded by all the characters that orbit around me. Hollywood is like living on Mars…You meet new kinds of aliens and clowns and ghosts. You know Tinsel Town is a haunted village.
L. You’ve been called one of America’s only true actors. And you mentioned Brando earlier. I’m sure you’ve heard the comparisons. What do you think makes a legend?
F. Some people go to bars and get drunk. Others take drugs; some read books and some paint obsessively. A legend is the common escape for us everyday mortals. We rest our dreams in them – whether they are lost in the past or locked in the future. The greatness of Brando laid in the mix of childish ruthlessness with animalistic beauty. By the way, what was your question? (laughs)
You’ve answered it, Francesco.
write by John Rogers