Thursday, October 4, 2012

'True Blood' stars Alexander Skarsgård, Kristin Bauer and Valentina Cervi at Roma Fiction Fest 2012

Alexander Skarsgård signing autographs in Rome
Crowds of die-hard fans started gathering early yesterday afternoon along the fuchsia carpet at the Roma Fiction Fest, waiting for the chance to glimpse cast members Alexander Skarsgård, Kristin Bauer and Valentina Cervi from the cult TV show True Blood. When the actors eventually appeared later that evening whoops and screams from the many teenage fans accompanied them every step of the way, but all three made sure that the long wait had been worth it and that nobody was left disappointed, stopping to chat, pose for photographs and signing endless autographs.

Taking the stage in Sala Petrassi prior to the screening of the first two episodes of Season 5, they were greeted by deafening cheers, before answering questions from the audience.

Watch some highlights from the True Blood event at Roma Fiction Fest 2012 below (or click here to watch on You Tube).

A Masterclass with Kelsey Grammer – Roma Fiction Fest 2012

Kelsey Grammer Masterclass in Rome
American actor Kelsey Grammer is best know worldwide for his portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane in the hugely successful sitcom Cheers and its equally popular spin-off Frasier. TV viewers in the US, however, have recently seen him in a very different dramatic role, portraying the utterly corrupt Mayor of Chicago Tom Kane in the new drama Boss, which earned him a Golden Globe earlier this year. Mr Grammer was at the Roma Fiction Fest yesterday to give a Masterclass and present the opening Gus Van Sant-directed episode on the big screen ahead of its Italian television premiere this evening on Rai 3.

The Masterclass with Kelsey Grammer in Sala Petrassi opened with a montage of classic moments from the actor's long career – not only the inevitable clips from Frasier, but also parts as diverse as a singing Ebenezer Scrooge in a musical TV movie version of A Christmas Carol, and the Simpsons cartoon character Sideshow Bob – before the charismatic actor appeared on stage to a small but enthusiastic audience of admirers. Mr Grammer gave long and thoughtful answers to host Marco Spagnoli's pertinent questions, sharing his consideration on the craft of acting with a combination of effortless erudition and genuine warmth.

The intimate tone was set right from the start of the talk when he was asked about how he first became an actor. He looked visibly moved as he remembered the loss of his grandfather, the only male figure in his life at that time, when he was only twelve years old, and explained how he took comfort from reading Shakespeare's plays and learning about stoicism through Julius Caesar. Shakespeare was a recurrent theme in the afternoon's conversation – the concept behind Boss, he explained, came from discussions with the show's writer Farhad Safinia about creating a modern take on King Lear (with a clear nod to Orson Welles' Citizen Kane in the name of the show's anti-hero).

Acknowledging that Hollywood can sometimes be guilty of political propaganda in its movies, he denied that Boss had a specific political agenda, and instead took a wider look at the machinations and corruption on both sides of the political divide. Indeed, the actor said he had met with two former Mayors of Chicago to reassure them that Tom Kane wasn't a respresentation of them personally, joking that they were first relieved...and then maybe a little disappointed!

In the spirit of a true Masterclass Marco Spagnoli then invited further questions to Kelsey Grammer from the public. Asked about voicing Bart Simpson's arch-nemisis in The Simpsons to the obvious delight of the audience we were treated to a brief “Die Bart die...!” in his Sideshow Bob voice. The biggest laugh of the afternoon, however, came when he was asked about which role he would most like to have played. Aside from starring in a western, he said, or playing the part of Hamlet, a role for which he was now regrettably too old, he confessed that the person he would most like to play would be Sean Connery!

At the close of the Masterclass Kelsey Grammer was honoured with a standing ovation and then graciously signed autographs for fans.

Watch Kelsey Grammer talk about the playing Frasier at Roma Fiction Fest 2012 below (or click here to watch on You Tube).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gillian Anderson and Matthew Macfadyen at BBC Worldwide Day - Roma Fiction Fest 2012

Gillian Anderson receives
Artistic Excellence Award from Steve Della Casa
Yesterday was BBC Worldwide Day at the Roma Fiction Fest 2012 with some of the very best British small screen entertainment such as Doctor Who and Sherlock showcased on the big screen at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, as well as panel discussions with industry insiders. In fact, it was whilst waiting to attend a BBC discussion that I caught an unexpected glimpse of one of the most hotly awaited stars of the day. Gillian Anderson, best know for her role as Dana Scully in cult 1990s sci-fi show The X Files, appeared briefly to greet a group of die-hard fans who had been patiently waiting for her in the foyer.

During the evening she would be joined by Matthew Macfadyen on the festival's distinctive pink carpet, greeting yet more fans, with both actors graciously signing autographs and posing for photographs, prior to the screenings of two recent BBC dramas: the first episode of Great Expectations starring Gillian Anderson, whose mesmerising and extraordinary portrayal of Miss Havisham garnered critical acclaim when it was first broadcast in the UK over Christmas last year, and the world premiere of the brand new drama Ripper Street, an exhilarating Victorian crime show set in the East End of London in the aftermath of the Jack the Ripper murders starring Macfadyen. Both actors were cheered as they took to the stage in Sala Petrassi and the episodes were met with resounding and spontaneous applause as the credits rolled.

Gillian Anderson was also in Rome yesterday to receive the festival's annual Artistic Excellence Award. Looking dazzlingly beautiful and modestly thanking the festival for the award, she spoke about her decision to live in London, rather than in America, and how this had opened up new opportunities for her as an actress and how fortunate she felt to have been offered such interesting roles, particularly by the BBC. She also praised the Roma Fiction Fest and its championing of high quality television.

Watch some highlights from Gillian Anderson's appearance at Roma Fiction Fest 2012 below (or click here to watch on You Tube).

Watch Matthew Macfadyen's presentation of Ripper Street at Roma Fiction Fest 2012 below (or click here to watch on You Tube).

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