Q: Were you familiar with Torchwood before you got the role? If not, how did you familiarize yourself with the character of Captain Jack?
A: I knew Torchwood. I watched the first episode long ago and I liked it a lot. I was very much fascinated by Jack Harkness and his team.
Anyway, I tried to approached it in the most naïve way in my work on the role since I did not want anything to affect Angelo's experience of getting to know Jack and be intrigued by him.
Q: How did you get the role of Angelo in Torchwood? Had you heard of or known any of the other cast members or production crew before you went for the job?
A: Well...the old-fashioned way...I got the role out of two auditions. I did not know anybody in the cast or the production. I think they liked my performance and wanted me to be in the show. Well, actually, when I met Russel T. Davies and Julie Gardner they were very excited to meet me (probably not as much as I was to meet them!)
Q: What was the audition process like? Did you have a screen test with John Barrowman or did you first meet him on the set when you came in to record the episode?
A: The audition was at Warner Brothers Studios in L.A.. I read with an assistant of the casting director. I met John the very first day of shooting. Everything was fast: I auditioned a Friday, the next Tuesday I had the second audition, then Wednesday they called me to tell me I got the part, Thursday I went to Warner Brothers to do wardrobe and make up and the very next day we started shooting. All in a week! And then I was in bed with Captain Jack! :-)
The first scene we shot was the one in bed after sex. Think of the intimacy we had to create from scratch!! John was a real gentleman from the very first moment I met him at the make-up. We created a beautiful professional relationship. And John had the idea to mention the burst blood vessel in my eye and include it in the script. The line “what happened to your eye?” was not in the script...
Q: What drew you specifically to the character of Angelo? Are there any insights into your character that we might not have gotten from the episode itself?
A: I loved the character from the very casting call!! Even reading the script for the audition thrilled me. I think Angelo is so passionate and yet so tragic. I felt for him immediately. I loved to play him.
A couple of curiosities: When I tell Jack that I was born in a small village of 200 people and now look at me where I am now, I was actually thinking of my own life. It was hard to get into an acting career and very hard in Italy, but despite all the obstacles I was in Hollywood, at Warner Brothers, acting opposite "Jack Harkness"!!! WOW!
Also, I made a back-story for Angelo that helped me with his struggle and his scars. It doesn't show on screen but in 1927 Italy was ruled by Fascism and being homosexual could easily mean being beaten to death. That's what Angelo talks about when he says “sometimes you have to defend yourself...people say ...things”. I imagined that he went through very hard times in the fascist Italy where he comes from. That was also my idea for his deep motivation to move to the US.
Q: What was your first impression about the character of Angelo when you first read the script? Do you think it changed during the course of production?
A: I loved him from the very beginning. I love to play characters with so many layers and that are conflicted and torn. I love to get emotional living their lives and feel empathy for them. The character did not change much from what was on the script. I think I made him more vulnerable shifting his emotions from shyness to tragic, aggressive desperation.
Q: How do you see Jack and Angelo's relationship? And based on what Angelo did, do you think that Jack could have forgiven him after what had happened? How do you play scenes like that which are so emotionally charged and which have so many levels?
A: Jack and Angelo are a more interesting version of Batman and Robin. A tragic and passionate one! :-)
Well, truth is I feel more like they are like Jesus and Judas. A story of love, betrayal and attempt to redemption. Which I love by the way. The scene on the rooftop is my favourite one. It really moved me. The tears you see are real.
I played the whole arc as a love story and I went into Angelo's point of view that in love we can make errors but we forgive each other. That's what he thinks it's love. The tears and the tragedy come from the realization that Jack is right and it's hard to accept what is inevitable. Angelo cries because he knows there's no future for the two of them.
Jack and Angelo in "Immortal Sins"
Q: We received some information in 'End of the Road' about Angelo's life after Jack. Does it fit with your concept of Angelo - do you believe that's how the man would have lived out his life after Jack?
A: Definitely Angelo being obsessed with immortality and Jack is perfectly in line with who he is in 1927-1928. I did not know what was going to happen in episode 8. I loved that they included the red eye in the story. (that's how Jack recognizes Angelo). I think Angelo is a very interesting character and it would be nice to explore his long life. Luckily this is a sci-fi show and there are time travels and aliens and all kinds of things that can bring a character back to life. So, we'll see...
Q: What was your favorite thing about playing the role of Angelo? How do you see Angelo,as a villain or as a confused man?
A: I loved him being so torn and conflicted. His struggle between his love for God and his sexuality makes him a real human character and that creates a lot of layers for an actor to explore. One of my favourite lines are “I always hoped. If God is love...maybe he loves me too”.
I don't think he is a villain. A villain has an intention to hurt others. Angelo was just in love and thought he had found his paradise (think of how happy he is after Jack laughs and says “I really don't care what people thinks” or after they kill the alien) but he is taken into an hurricane when everything falls apart. I feel like he is very unlucky. And sometimes when things are bigger than us, we make mistakes.
Q: Angelo delivers Jack to the mob who kills him again and again. Was it hard to watch the torture scenes being filmed?
A: I did not see the torture. When the camera was on me, John was just giving me his look 'cause the camera was in his spot (the cellar is quite small). So what you see is what I imagined to see in front of me and I have a very fertile imagination. :-)
I felt like Judas when Pilate has Jesus being whipped and tortured. The horror and the guilt is unbearable.
Q: John Barrowman and Eve Myles have often been asked how different it was to work in the US instead of the UK. We want to ask you now: How was working at the Warner Brothers' studio different from working in Italy?
A: Working at Warner Bros was fantastic! Nothing like that in Italy ever! They make you feel like a star and there's wonderful team work. Also there's enough time to do everything beautifully. It's really a dream. Nowadays Italy's TV and movie business is not even comparable.
Q: How long did you spend working on Torchwood? And how does the Torchwood experience compare to other shows you have worked on?
A: I worked for eight days. Angelo has been the most challenging and deep role I have ever done. It will be in my heart and memory forever. It is a new step up in my learning about human beings and acting. Also this was the best set I've worked in. Especially because of the beautiful attitude of Gwyneth, the director, and John. I hope there will be an opportunity to explore this role in the future. His very long life seems like having a lot to offer.
Q: Jane Espenson mentioned on Twitter that while your scenes with John were being filmed, the director didn't say cut much. How much did you shoot that we didn't get to see in the final version? Were there any bits which you wish they had kept in?
A: Well, me and John had very good chemistry and we felt very confident with each other. It's very rare especially when you are supposed to shoot such intimate and heartfelt scenes. So Gwyneth let us go to see what happened. You actually see almost everything we shot. They just cut out a couple of lines in the window/seduction scene. Nothing major. Those lines probably slowed down the pace of the scene since Angelo originally moved from the window to the bed and then to the window again. Also the sex scene is shorter then what we filmed. ;-)
Q: Were there any outtakes or bloopers that might end up on the DVD release? Could you share any funny stories or jokes that may have happened on set with John Barrowman?
A: Once I couldn't stop laughing when the “Italian” wife of the butcher shows us the room. She is an American actress and she speaks Italian very well but because of her accent, that time she sounded so funny...
The day after I booked the part, I had a blood vessel burst in my eye. (So that's not special effect!) The producers liked it and wrote it into the story. The incredible thing is that it went away right after we finished filming. Maybe I was possessed by the spirit of Angelo!
Q: And the question you'll always be asked if you end up going to a science fiction convention: What was it like to kiss John Barrowman? How does it feel to have played a character that has a bedroom scene with the infamous Captain Jack? ;-)
A: John has beautiful lips. And he is very handsome so I was lucky. ;-) I am not gay but I feel like I am responsible towards my role and I have to do all my best to respect it. So if Angelo is attracted by Jack, I am as well. Then in my real life...
Also, John is a great professional and he has this beautiful quality that makes everybody comfortable on set especially when filming sexy scenes. It helped me a lot, because, of course, I was quite nervous!
Q: Have you shot any gay scenes before? How did you feel about filming these intimate scenes with John Barrowman?
A: I once was in a sex scene with a girl and we were completely naked making love in the shower. I had a hard-on, I have to admit! :-) but the Angelo/Jack one was my first gay sex/seduction scene ever! (Well, I had to kiss a guy in another show but nothing compared to this). As I said, the set was very protective and I felt very comfortable with the nudity. Also, I see myself as an eclectic actor and I always love to do new things in my career.
John Barrowman and Daniele Favilli with their stunt doubles
Q: Which part of Italy did you grow up in? Will you be going back or staying in the USA? How long have you been in the US and do you have any plans to come to the UK?
A: I was born and raised in Florence, the beautiful Renaissance city of Leonardo, Michelangelo and all those incredible artists. I love my town. Although I travelled a lot, I lived in Florence the most. I moved to Rome in 2004 and lived there for 4 years before moving to Los Angeles. I love the vibe of L.A. It's a world of opportunities that I never experienced before. I'm planning to stay and work here but I sometimes go back to Italy to see my family and work a little.
I also lived in Canterbury and London for a while back in the '90s. England is in my heart. I really feel very close to that country. I don't know why but every time I go back to London I feel at home. More than I ever felt in Rome for instance. And I'm probably the only Italian who likes British food! I love it! I think it's interesting! ;-)
Q: What would be your dream role to play and do you have any interesting projects coming up in the near future?
A: My dream role is a conflicted role. Like Angelo! I'd love to play the devil, Mephistopheles, Iago in Shakespeare's Othello or Richard III and explore the vulnerability of these characters that are considered usually just villains. I also like very passionate heroes that would do everything they can, against all odds to save the girl or the world!
I have a modern western feature film coming up called SWELTER in which I play one of the bad guys. I love it! It's a great script and it will be a very intriguing film to shoot and to watch. It is directed by Keith Parmer, the writer/director who also cast me in MOB RULES, my first American film. Then later this year I'll be in a science-fiction film with an Italian director who works internationally. I'm also working on a future TV show about the artists of the Renaissance in Florence.
Thank you for the wonderful questions. A big hug to all of you.
Photos: Daniele Favilli & BBC Worldwide