Giuseppe Battison is Mangiafuoco in Pinocchio. An Italian among the greats of Hollywood, including Tom Hanks

Director Zemeckis wanted it to be 'bombastic', volcanic. He threw himself into the enterprise, but never managed to meet the leading star. And on the most famous Italian fairy tale in the world he says: 'She is gloomy, no adult can look at her with the eyes of a child'

  battiston-eater-today-37 Giuseppe Battison is Mangiafuoco in Zemeckis' Pinocchio Video

Giuseppe Battiston, a famous actor from Friuli, is defined by those who know him as 'a lovely person'. Of course he is also wary. In front of every question he takes a break and with this pause he puts a distance that is not only kilometer, given that the conversation takes place on the Udine-Milan line. And this happens even if we are talking about the most harmless news in the world: his role as a Fire Eater in the new Pinocchio where he stars with Tom Hanks, directed by Robert Zemeckis. An Italian, one of the greats of Hollywood. - video

Giuseppe Battiston, an Oscar-winning Fire Eater: 'But I didn't know Tom Hanks-Geppetto

Tell me: how it all started? “I sent a self tape. After that I didn't know anything more, until Zemeckis wanted to have an interview with me ».

You, Battiston. 'Of course yes, this is the first of the obvious answers to an obvious question.'

Maybe he surprised me with a less obvious answer. “No, I don't have arrogance, it would be idiotic. One gives an audition if he likes it and above all if he likes the role and director, not because he is forced to ».

And is he back as a child? Disney, a fairytale world made of cartoons and princesses ... “From a practical point of view, you have little time to go back to being a child, the set was a big car. From an emotional point of view it is exciting ».

My say. 'Pinocchio is an extremely violent, extremely dark tale, there is abuse, stupidity, hatred and violence, together with the values ​​of friendship and growth. Pinocchio is tender and painful. The more you grow, the more the implications change, you no longer look at it with the eyes of the child you once were ».

What information did the director give you? 'There is only one word: bombastic, he wanted an overwhelming character. Mangiafuoco, in Disney's versions, is called Stromboli. When we met, I told him: this character is really an explosion, a volcano like the island of Stromboli. And he told me ' What ?', what?'.

Did Zemeckis not know Stromboli? 'No, that was a funny little episode.'
And it is at this point that Battiston unlocks and lets himself go. He laughs, he explains, talks about the malaise he feels in seeing how the cell phone is now a box, he talks about Milan that he knows very well because he studied at Paolo Grassi and then became the actor of Pane e Tulipani and Perfetti Sconosciuti: 'Of course he's a sad movie Perfect Strangers, ”he says. “Of course it tells how false ties can be, but they always have been and that's not why it's sad. It is sad for the use of mobile phones today, where everyone takes pictures of everything and a photograph is a blink of an eye, not an object destined to age with us'. Similar to a hedgehog, then it closes as soon as the private is touched: «I feel it mine, only mine».

Did you meet Tom Hanks? «We were on two sets close together, but I never managed to say goodbye. It is not like on the sets of our cinema, where, for example, a journalist roams freely. There is a rather dense filtering system that affects all the players. You have several assistants, make-up, costume and then you have other assistants who filter you from the director ».

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Did it take the three hours to transform yourself? “No, on the contrary it was very instructive to see people at work waving around me. These are small fortunes: not only were you directed by an Oscar winner and worked alongside an Oscar winner, but you were also made up by an Oscar winner and dressed up by an Oscar. '

Yet there are actors who have never felt like leaving Italy. “I am tied to my land, it is true, but I doubt that it could have been set in Friuli Fourth Estate O Barry Lyndon . I am an actor. Not an Italian actor ».

One of Zemeckis' most beloved films is Back to the Future. In what period would you return? 'Maybe in the 1960s, there was a real sense of freedom in Italy. This does not mean that we are not free now, but it is a bit of a fake freedom '.

Excuse me? Haven't you seen it? «Not at all, are you kidding? I will also put myself in front of the TV like everyone else ».

Why is it not distributed in theaters? 'An editorial choice'.

Speaking of the new Pinocchio, what do you think of a black blue fairy, so politically correct? «I think that cinema and theater are the only areas where, perhaps, the imagination should rule, after which I find this blue fairy beautiful, who breaks down barriers. Without detracting from Lollo ».

Pinocchio or the mistreated talking cricket? Choose. 'Donald Duck. He is anarchoid, Mickey Mouse is so pedantic! ».

I read that his plan B is the vineyard: there was De André of famous farmers and now there is Gerry Scotti. “I'm not really interested in being a farmer. But then, being a farmer ... you don't really go there to work the land, someone else always goes there with his hands. But yes, De André, I can see him digging ».

You played Churchill, it is said that he said: 'Italians lose football matches as if they were wars and they lose wars as if they were football matches.' Do you share? «The Italians have yet to understand what form they want to give themselves. It will be fun to be Italian this winter ».
(Pause). 'Of course I'm sarcastic, right?'

The trailer for Pinocchio guard