Photography by Paolo Santambrogio
Written by Gabriella Wright
Since graduating from the Silvio d’Amico National Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2020, Enrico Inserra, one of the most interesting, new, and upcoming Italian actors who can be seen in numerous film projects. Just this year, Enrico played Santi Caleca, the lover of iconic Italian photojournalist, Letizia Battaglia, in the two-part film for RAIUNO, Letizia Battaglia. Enrico is the protagonist in Ivan Gergolet’s debut feature, The Man Without Guilt. We can see him in various other projects, in which he also brings a novel and youthful perspective to each character he portrays.
Q. What was your upbringing like? What influenced you to become an actor?
A. Growing up, my parents always prioritized the arts; my mother is a painter, and my father loves cinema, photography, and music. Watching movies, in particular, was a huge part of my childhood. At age seventeen, I realized I wanted to work in the film industry. After that, I became involved in theater, and so it started.
Q. How did you get your start in the industry? Did your school help you kick-start your career, or did you need to network yourself?
A. School absolutely helped me; I graduated from one of the best drama schools in Italy. I met my agent during school, and with their help, I started my first television and cinema projects.
Q. What goes into choosing your work? Are there certain characters you gravitate towards?
A. I don’t think so; it is mostly an “instinct” decision. I read the project and imagined the movie. Then, if the audition/meeting with the director/production works for both of us, I will join.
Q. How do you prepare for your different roles?
A. Every role requires different work. I typically read the script, learn about the story we want to tell (not just my character), watch things that I think are good for inspiration, and listen to music. But preparing for a role is mostly subjective, and what I do will change from film to film. However, I can say that the first thing I do is always read the script and imagine the movie in my head, obviously with my role in mind.
Q. How do you feel about shooting stories based on real life like Letizia Battaglia? How do you put your artistic touch on these films?
A. It was a great honor to become a part of her story. Letizia is one of the most iconic and influential Italian artists, so for my role, I tried to get as much information as I could from her and Santi (my character) before we started shooting.
Q. In meeting Santi Caleca before filming Letizia Battaglia, how did your interpretation of his character change?
A. My interpretation of him was based on mainly two things: stories the real Santi told me and the vision of him I created after I read the script. So, a large part of my interpretation was a combination of those.
Q. Did you ever feel intimidated in your earlier projects, like 1994? Were there any roadblocks you needed to conquer?
A. Of course. I think challenges are an important part of the “road” in every job. Difficulty creates problems, problems need solutions, and solutions require you to better yourself and grow as a person after each obstacle. If you have not faced difficulty, you can’t say that you are doing a good job.
Q. How do you navigate the changing acting industry as someone just beginning their career?
A. I just do what I enjoy, meeting people who are passionate about the same things I am. I don’t think about my career too far into the future. I just react to what is happening in the present and follow my instincts.
Q. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
A. In my hometown, Cagliari, surrounded by friends and family, with five more years’ worth of projects under my belt.
Q. What is your favorite film of all time and why?
A. It’s impossible for me to answer this question and not change my mind in 10 minutes. Right now, some of my favorites would have to be 8 1/2 by Fellini and Michael Clayton by Tony Gilroy. Sorry, it just is impossible to list just one film.
Inserra is a rising Italian actor, and he is noted among his peers as one to watch. We look forward to following along and seeing what the future holds for this talented actor. To keep up with Enrico Inserra, follow him on Instagram at @enricoinserra.