Francesco di Napoli

Francesco di Napoli

At 19, Francesco Di Napoli is the new revelation of Italian cinema. While working as a pastry chef, he was called to play in Claudio Giovannesi's « La Paranza dei Bambini ». The young Neapolitan will lend his face to Nicola, a teenager born from the imagination of Roberto Saviano who dedicates to crime on the streets of Naples. A role that will propel him to the front of a stage he did not expect to step on one day. Since muse of the last Louis Vuitton campaign and on the poster of Romulus, the new series of Matteo Rovere, Francesco Di Napoli has seized his chance but no longer wants to leave anything to odds.
It all really started with a photo?
Yes, that’s pretty crazy. One day I am told that a producer had seen a photo of me and my cousin somewhere in Naples and that he wanted to meet me for a movie. It was so huge, I didn't believe it and didn't even go to the casting. The production insisted, and it was only after I met with Claudio Giovannesi and talked to him that I realized serious things were in preparation.
After several months from then, what do you look at on this unexpected turning point?
Before the movie, I was a pastry chef, I got up at 5:00 am and finished at 4:00 pm, earning 100 euros per week. Even if I had dreams in the drawer, it was a job I did with passion and I put everything I could into it. But deep down, I knew there was this extra thing waiting for me somewhere. And today everything has changed, I find myself in the midst of actors, models and producers. It’s a world I’m discovering but that I really like. I have a strange routine, between the release of the Romulus series and the new projects that are arriving, my daily life is a permanent question mark.
In La Paranza dei bambini you play a teenager caught up in Neapolitan crime, Nicola. Is he someone you could have come across?
Nicola, I see him in my friends, on the street and suddenly I understood him right away. I know his reality, the life in Naples and the things a young person can do for money and to impress girls. It's a role close enough to me, but we don't have the same story. I find myself in some of his character traits: he wants to act but ends up doing evil to defend himself. He does it in a fairly innocent way at the beginning and knowing only too well the tragic end of this kind of path, my difficulty was to find the right sensitivity to play it and keep a little of this innocence.
The movie also talks about the transition to adulthood and a young Neapolitan who is losing his dreams. But unlike the characters, you become an actor, is it a matter of luck?
No, I rather believe in fate, I think that things are written. Besides Claudio Giovannesi saw it immediately, I played very naturally, almost without realizing it.
Unwittingly, you send them a strong signal.
That’s why I want to make the most of this opportunity to create more. Many people I meet on the streets are supporting me, telling me that they like it and communicating their enthusiasm towards the future.
Let's leave Naples for Rome. You are playing Romulus, the new Matteo Rovere series that will be released soon on Sky, after the success of your first film how do you manage audience expectations?
A large part of the audience of Paranza dei bambini thinks that the character of Nicola and me, we are just the same and that I did not have to play. This new project is really an opportunity to chase this idea out of people's minds. I'm going to reshuffle the cards. This time I am not familiar with my character: he comes from Ancient times and lived 3000 years ago. The series tells the birth of Rome through three witnesses immersed in a primitive and brutal world and everything was shot in archaic Latin.
"I knew there was this thing waiting for me somewhere." [Francesco di Napoli]
You worked more for this role?
Yes, because if I was familiar to the world of my first movie. For Romulus I spent 3 months to grasp the scenario. I learned Latin and I realized that it is difficult to convey emotions in a completely unknown language, you have to work twice as much. There was the work of the body, with a lot of physical preparation for the fighting scenes. But also a work of the mind, with a huge effort in the play to convey the sense and the emotions in small details. For the replies, I had to set up the dialogue with a look, an intonation or a movement.
Besides, despite the success of your first film, you remained rather discreet, is there a reason?
I don't want to be famous and become a character, only my closed relatives really know who I am. I want to cultivate the mystery, to be a stranger who does not get to know me. I want to allow doubt to linger about me.
An unknown who is part of the faces of the last Louis Vuitton campaign, can you tell us a few words about this first collaboration.
While shooting for the series, I hadn't slept for 24 hours and went to Palermo in Sicily for a single day of work. It was interesting to be a photo model, it’s very similar to acting in the end. And I’ve always been interested in fashion since I was a very young boy. I really like this world, even if I don't see myself as a model or on a catwalk.
What do you like in fashion?
Some parts of it. When I was younger I was fascinated by Gucci shoes. When I saw a guy wearing one of their models, I promised myself that one day I would have them on my feet too. It may sound silly but it’s the first thing I bought myself with my first acting salary. It was a gift for the little boy that I was.
What if you were a movie?
The Wolf of Wall Street. It talks about the dark side of a person, people who reveal themselves in the course of the obstacles they can cross.
And the soundtrack of a future project?
I really like electronic music but I don't know if it would look good on the screen. Maybe the Italian trap which is very popular right now ... Yes, I can see myself playing a scene with trap music in the background.
Text: Florine Tirole
Photo: Alessandro Treves

Francesco di Napoli

At 19, Francesco Di Napoli is the new revelation of Italian cinema. While working as a pastry chef, he was called to play in Claudio Giovannesi's « La Paranza dei Bambini ». The young Neapolitan will lend his face to Nicola, a teenager born from the imagination of Roberto Saviano who dedicates to crime on the streets of Naples. A role that will propel him to the front of a stage he did not expect to step on one day. Since muse of the last Louis Vuitton campaign and on the poster of Romulus, the new series of Matteo Rovere, Francesco Di Napoli has seized his chance but no longer wants to leave anything to odds.
It all really started with a photo?
Yes, that’s pretty crazy. One day I am told that a producer had seen a photo of me and my cousin somewhere in Naples and that he wanted to meet me for a movie. It was so huge, I didn't believe it and didn't even go to the casting. The production insisted, and it was only after I met with Claudio Giovannesi and talked to him that I realized serious things were in preparation.
After several months from then, what do you look at on this unexpected turning point?
Before the movie, I was a pastry chef, I got up at 5:00 am and finished at 4:00 pm, earning 100 euros per week. Even if I had dreams in the drawer, it was a job I did with passion and I put everything I could into it. But deep down, I knew there was this extra thing waiting for me somewhere. And today everything has changed, I find myself in the midst of actors, models and producers. It’s a world I’m discovering but that I really like. I have a strange routine, between the release of the Romulus series and the new projects that are arriving, my daily life is a permanent question mark.
In La Paranza dei bambini you play a teenager caught up in Neapolitan crime, Nicola. Is he someone you could have come across?
Nicola, I see him in my friends, on the street and suddenly I understood him right away. I know his reality, the life in Naples and the things a young person can do for money and to impress girls. It's a role close enough to me, but we don't have the same story. I find myself in some of his character traits: he wants to act but ends up doing evil to defend himself. He does it in a fairly innocent way at the beginning and knowing only too well the tragic end of this kind of path, my difficulty was to find the right sensitivity to play it and keep a little of this innocence.
The movie also talks about the transition to adulthood and a young Neapolitan who is losing his dreams. But unlike the characters, you become an actor, is it a matter of luck?
No, I rather believe in fate, I think that things are written. Besides Claudio Giovannesi saw it immediately, I played very naturally, almost without realizing it.
Unwittingly, you send them a strong signal.
That’s why I want to make the most of this opportunity to create more. Many people I meet on the streets are supporting me, telling me that they like it and communicating their enthusiasm towards the future.
Let's leave Naples for Rome. You are playing Romulus, the new Matteo Rovere series that will be released soon on Sky, after the success of your first film how do you manage audience expectations?
A large part of the audience of Paranza dei bambini thinks that the character of Nicola and me, we are just the same and that I did not have to play. This new project is really an opportunity to chase this idea out of people's minds. I'm going to reshuffle the cards. This time I am not familiar with my character: he comes from Ancient times and lived 3000 years ago. The series tells the birth of Rome through three witnesses immersed in a primitive and brutal world and everything was shot in archaic Latin.
"I knew there was this thing waiting for me somewhere." [Francesco di Napoli]
You worked more for this role?
Yes, because if I was familiar to the world of my first movie. For Romulus I spent 3 months to grasp the scenario. I learned Latin and I realized that it is difficult to convey emotions in a completely unknown language, you have to work twice as much. There was the work of the body, with a lot of physical preparation for the fighting scenes. But also a work of the mind, with a huge effort in the play to convey the sense and the emotions in small details. For the replies, I had to set up the dialogue with a look, an intonation or a movement.
Besides, despite the success of your first film, you remained rather discreet, is there a reason?
I don't want to be famous and become a character, only my closed relatives really know who I am. I want to cultivate the mystery, to be a stranger who does not get to know me. I want to allow doubt to linger about me.
An unknown who is part of the faces of the last Louis Vuitton campaign, can you tell us a few words about this first collaboration.
While shooting for the series, I hadn't slept for 24 hours and went to Palermo in Sicily for a single day of work. It was interesting to be a photo model, it’s very similar to acting in the end. And I’ve always been interested in fashion since I was a very young boy. I really like this world, even if I don't see myself as a model or on a catwalk.
What do you like in fashion?
Some parts of it. When I was younger I was fascinated by Gucci shoes. When I saw a guy wearing one of their models, I promised myself that one day I would have them on my feet too. It may sound silly but it’s the first thing I bought myself with my first acting salary. It was a gift for the little boy that I was.
What if you were a movie?
The Wolf of Wall Street. It talks about the dark side of a person, people who reveal themselves in the course of the obstacles they can cross.
And the soundtrack of a future project?
I really like electronic music but I don't know if it would look good on the screen. Maybe the Italian trap which is very popular right now ... Yes, I can see myself playing a scene with trap music in the background.
Text: Florine Tirole
Photo: Alessandro Treves