Salvatore Ruocco’s Captivating Performance in ‘Padre Pio’: A Masterful Portrayal That Touches Hearts and Souls
Salvatore Ruocco, the talented Italian actor known for his captivating performances, has mesmerized audiences once again in the feature film “Padre Pio” directed by the renowned Abel Ferrara. Portraying the character of Vincenzo, Ruocco takes us on a gripping journey through the aftermath of World War I and the troubled town of San Giovanni Rotondo. In an exclusive interview, conducted in early 2023, Ruocco shares his experiences working on the film, collaborating with Ferrara, and his thoughts on the intriguing story of Padre Pio.
Ruocco’s connection with Ferrara began in prior films, leading to the director handpicking him for the role of Vincenzo in “Padre Pio.” Ruocco explains, “Ferrara already knows me because I’ve worked with him several times. He gave me the role of Vincenzo because he thought it was right for me. Ferrara is very fussy when it comes to choosing actors.”
While the film is set in Monte Sant’Angelo in Puglia, Ruocco’s hometown of Naples is quite far away. Despite the distance, he found the experience enriching. He shares, “I did not know Monte Sant’Angelo, but it is a beautiful country, really beautiful.”
Ruocco delves into his character Vincenzo, describing him as a decorated war hero who suffers from an inferiority complex with the bourgeois masters. Vincenzo’s story unfolds against the backdrop of political turmoil and his desire to marry Giovanna, a woman whose husband hasn’t returned from the war. Ruocco dedicated himself to the role, studying the character’s entire story and undergoing physical transformations. “I had to work out to get used to looking with one eye and lose 20 pounds because Abel wanted me to be thinner,” he shares. Additionally, Ruocco had to deliver his lines in English, adding another layer of challenge to his portrayal.
Ruocco expresses his admiration and gratitude for Abel Ferrara, referring to him as his mentor. Their professional collaboration extends beyond the set, with Ruocco visiting Ferrara’s home and maintaining regular communication. “Sometimes we write to each other. I never stop studying him, he is a genius. I am honored to have worked with Abel Ferrara,” Ruocco shares fondly.
Ruocco reflects on the film’s intriguing narrative, highlighting its roots in a forgotten chapter of Italian history. He explains, “Abel dusts off an episode now forgotten for years, namely: The murder of San Giovanni Rotondo. It was the birth of fascism..It’s about the Holy Father Pio; he was great.” The film explores this captivating story, shedding light on historical events that deserve remembrance.
Although Ruocco’s character does not share scenes with Shia LaBeouf, he speaks highly of the American actor’s performance. “I met Shia, and I think he’s a good guy. He is also a very good actor. He did a great interpretation in “Padre Pio,” Ruocco acknowledges.
Ruocco had the opportunity to discuss his character with the film’s writers, Maurizio Braucci and Abel Ferrara. They allowed him to contribute creatively to his portrayal. Ruocco shares, “We talked about my character. Maurizio Braucci was very present, and I spoke a lot with him, but also with Ferrara.”
While attending a gathering hosted in honor of the film “Padre Pio” at the Venice Film Festival, the actor reminisced about a memorable encounter. A fellow guest, a distinguished gentleman, approached the actor and praised their exceptional performance in the movie. Expressing gratitude, the actor received the compliment graciously. It was during this exchange that Ferrara’s wife interjected, prompting the actor with a question: did they recognize the identity of the individual who had offered the compliment? In response the actor admitted their lack of recognition. The revelation followed: the gentleman was none other than Tony Garnier, renowned as the bassist for the legendary musician Bob Dylan. Filled with immense joy, the actor’s admiration for Bob Dylan further deepened, making the experience all the more remarkable against the backdrop of the Venice Film Festival.
Ruocco hopes that audiences will appreciate the hard work put into the film by Abel Ferrara and the entire cast and crew. Additionally, he aspires for the historical events portrayed in “Padre Pio” to be remembered and acknowledged by viewers.
Looking ahead, Ruocco shares his involvement in “The Equalizer 3” directed by Antoine Fuqua, starring Denzel Washington. He eagerly anticipates its release, mentioning his excitement about the project.
“Padre Pio” is available on demand. Audiences can look forward to experiencing the extraordinary talent of Salvatore Ruocco in this powerful and thought-provoking film.