New big TV hit for Gabriella Pension who is again caught between life and death in the role of judge Anna Mayer, wife of inspector Leonardo Cagliostro (Lino Guanciale). We’re talking about the third season of La porta rossa, which will be broadcast on Rai 2 on Wednesdays during prime time.
La porta rossa 3, a co-production between Rai Fiction and Garbo Produzioni and directed by Gianpaolo Tescari, is approaching its grand finale and Gabriella Pession told us about her role, about her work on the set Pillow Linen and his dreams in the drawer.
Great success for the third season of La porta rossa: is it really a new beginning for Anna?
Of course, as you know, I can’t spoil too much. Therefore, we have already seen that Anna organizes, say, to live in Siena and then something happens that actually annoys her … in short, alarms her because she does not believe that Eleonora Pavese committed suicide or that it was an accident. Instead, he believes someone did it. This email arrives telling her “it was Cagliostro”. So, let’s say, that hope is rekindled in her… although you want to, fear the hope that Cagliostro is present in any way. So that obsession – which isn’t an obsession because he’s actually there, otherwise the show wouldn’t exist – is reignited. So it’s a new beginning in that he’s starting to create again, looking for that connection to Cagliostro. Then, if it’s going to be a fresh start for them, beyond Cagliostro, I can’t tell you… we should watch Wednesday’s episode.
What does “the red door” symbolize?
For me it undoubtedly symbolized continuing to be part of General TV, to which I am very close and to whom I owe so much of my achievements and affection for the audience, but it undoubtedly meant a change of language. Because “La porta rossa” was something like a turning point in the Italian television panorama and for me it also meant doing something more to my liking. Because then, in short, I like modern stories with deep character writing that’s never stereotypical. Hence the three-dimensional writing of the screenwriters, also combined with a very realistic style code, nothing sugary, sometimes even uncomfortable, dark, dark.. seen with a Trieste as never seen before. So all the originality was something I was striving for, and this project came at a time when after so much generic, let’s say more traditional on Rai1, I wanted to try a story that had a new element like the paranormal in this one Case. So let’s say it has all the qualities I was looking for to take a step forward in terms of a slightly more modern way of making television for the Italian panorama. It has already been done abroad, but not yet in Italy.
The fiction deals with difficult themes: the connection between life and death, grief. How did you prepare to play your character and how much of you did you bring with you?
Well, you know, every time I play a character, it’s inevitable, beyond the rational realization, that you bring your stuff into the characters. I believe that the actor’s work is also closely linked to emotions, to the emotionality of the actor who performs it. It’s like saying, “A painter who paints something totally devoid of his inwardness.” It’s never like that. So there’s definitely something like a soundboard that resonates as you play a character and aspects of your personality and not your past, maybe triggers from your past are brought to the surface. I, in particular, was going through the process of losing my father, so in that sense it was a very magical set and very intimate. A journey through the nonverbal and a journey through the hope that there is something beyond death. This listening to something intangible, something purely subtle and spiritual is a dimension that fascinates me a lot, that I try to cultivate and that I was happy to tell.
What was it like being on set with Lino Guanciale? You also worked with him at the theater
Yes, first I worked with him on Il Sistema, that was a series in which I was together as a protagonist, me and Claudio Gioè and Lino was at the beginning of his television career because he was already a very successful actor in theatrical theater. So with Lino we love each other very much and we are friends for life. There is tremendous complicity, respect. In short, returning to Lino is easy because we know each other very well beyond work, i.e. we know our weaknesses and our strengths, and we have great respect for the job and what we do. We are creative, we listen. There’s really a whole discourse that also connects to a human affinity between him and me that I believe this thing can then be read on the small screen.
You have acted in many successful dramas and films: from Pride to Lo smemorato di Collegno, from Love is forever as long as it lasts to Ex-Amci as before, just to name a few titles. Is there a character that you have played that is particularly close to your heart?
Yes, Tosca in Beyond the Threshold, the series I played for Canale5 where I played a schizophrenic psychiatrist. And trying to bring mental illness and youthful malaise to the small screen was exactly what I felt was needed to bring a character like this to the screen. That is, a character living with an illness and having his own dignity, struggling to survive. I loved telling a character that they are not a hero because everything is fine in life. One is also a heroine when something goes wrong but needs to move on! Proceed with courage and dignity, and even a bit of S-political correctness. That ends up being a brutal character if you will, nothing sugary, zero stereotypes, so that’s the character I loved the most. And then I loved Sabrina Monti very much in Oggi sposi, the comedy.
Instead, what can you tell us about the American experience?
From the American experience, you know, we could really do an interview just about that. It was a big learning experience for me, a big change. An experience that made me have a clear will to return to Italy with wonderful friends abroad, with a working relationship that I continue to have abroad, there is a continuity of work abroad. But I realized that despite my blue passport, I am strongly Italian. That said, at a time when American society is very angry, it scares me a lot, the issue of guns scares me. Political instability scares me, it’s a country where I’ve had a lot of trouble thinking about raising my son forever. It was a wonderful experience, I love Los Angeles very much. It’s a very difficult place, it’s a very hostile and hostile city. You have to conquer Los Angeles, it took me a year and a half. Then we lived there for almost three years, so I really enjoyed it for a year and a half, but it’s a very complex city, it’s a city that has no heart, it has no center. You must find your own Los Angeles unaided. However, it is a city made up of many personal discoveries. I did transcendental meditation, I started doing yoga, I started writing. A whole host of things that if I had only lived in well-being in Rome – which I madly love – I probably wouldn’t have had the urge to explore.
I read that you have moved 23 times in 10 years: is that true?
Yes, that is very true. We are close to the 24th and then I would like to stop because we are very tired. Oh yes, because my husband is Irish, I was born in the United States. We have lived in Ireland, in England, in America, in Italy between Milan and Rome. My husband has now returned from New Zealand, next year we will be accompanying him for a while. That means we are truly global citizens. My son is a child who, due to his young age, has already seen I know how many countries. He keeps a journal of all the places he visits and likes, he can already make comparisons, he’s already developing a taste for things. But in short, we are undoubtedly a family… when you say “citizens of the world” we really are.
Your secret professional dream?
My desire to be able to realize my own projects, that is, to be a person who stimulates working groups, who is able to work in a collaborative dimension. As a sort of independent reality where you can still develop projects that come from you and not just get hired as an actress, I’m already doing this for something else, but I want it, as a secret dream, that it would be mine become a new reality. Doing my own projects, with screenwriters I work with, producers, actors. In short, to create my own working group, almost my own company: where we are, where we have fun, where we share the love of this wonderful profession, but in a more personal, creative and active and less passive way.
Where do we see you after Red Door 3 in 2023?
Well I have three films for cinema: one is called La seconda chance and it’s a comedy that I love, a lovely film that I made with Max Giusti, directed by Umberto Carteni, produced by Rodeo Drive and Rai Cinema. It will be in theaters first and then on TV. Then I made another film, very, very funny and very cute, called A Dangerous Comedy, in which I play the leading role together with Enrico Brignano, directed by Alessandro Pondi. Then comes a film that I made in 2019, to which I am very attached, inspired by the life of Troisi based on the novel by Anna Pavignano From tomorrow I get up late. I play Anna Pavignano in the film and John Lynch the actor of In the name of the Father, Sliding Doors… many films play Massimo but it absolutely does not imitate the wonderful Massimo, we just told the great love story between Massimo and ann. And this is another much more niche film, more drama for the cinema that I’m very attached to. Then I write my first TV series for Endemol, for Rai, along with three other screenwriters. So I’m co-authoring my first series and then, in short, another thing that I’m doing internationally these days.”