by our correspondent
Inheriting a trillion and not knowing what to do with it. Or rather, become the richest man in the world only by spending every penny on a utopia: eliminating poverty from the earth. Starting from an intriguing premise, part Da Vinci Code and part eco-thriller, the new Paramount+ series One Trillion Dollars, a re-adaptation of Andreas Eschbach’s best seller arriving on the platform on Thursday, in six episodes. Filmed in Germany, Spain and partly also in Italy (the thousand billions belong to the fund of a fourteenth-century Florentine fantasy nobleman), the series follows the rise in the world of billionaires of John Fontanelli, a penniless delivery boy from Berlin (the German Philip Froissant, 29 years old), who a dark prophecy would have predestined for the salvation of the world. Next to him, in a role between the finance guru and the carer, an excellent Alessandra Mastronardi, 37 years old, with an impeccable English accent lost (a shame) in the Italian dubbing: «It’s the first time they’ve offered me a character like this: a woman in a world of men who stands up to everyone, says the ex from I Cesaroni from Berlin, in the cast with the Italians Greta Scacchi and Orso Maria Guerrini – I like German series, raw and true, without the Italian do-goodism».
He has a trillion. What is he doing?
«I wouldn’t try to solve poverty by distributing money around, but I would try to manipulate the financial markets like my character, Franca Vacchi, does in the series. As a UNICEF ambassador I have been to difficult countries and I understood that if you want to change the system, you have to do it from within.”
The first money he earned?
«The first profit with I Cesaroni. I bought myself a car. Not a Ferrari, obviously.”
Have you ever turned down a large sum of money?
«At 22 I said no to a clothing advertisement. I didn’t believe it and I didn’t want to show my face.”
“No. You can also have a lot of zeros in your account, but if you’re not happy it’s of no use.”
Why did you say yes to “One Trillion Dollars”?
«For courage. I like stories that aren’t afraid of being politically incorrect. In Italy someone writes them, but they are few: most of our products are anachronistic compared to the freshness of the platforms. They seem to come from the old world, when there were only Rai and Mediaset.”
The world of “I Cesaroni”: if they made them again, would you come back?
«I’ve heard rumors, but nothing official. If they did it again I wouldn’t be there. I’m not for reboots and I don’t need them: when the cycles close, they close. Furthermore, my character (Eva Cudicini, ed.) had married, had two children, if she came back she would be a grandmother: no thanks. And then we’re not talking about a global success like Friends.”
Would you watch it?
“No. If I want to see the cast of I Cesaroni again I’ll go there for dinner. I’d love that”.
Why did he leave?
«I decided, after having thought about it for a long time. I suffer the choices, but then I don’t go back. It wasn’t me anymore, I wasn’t that thing there anymore. I wanted to raise the bar. The difficult part was convincing others to accept the break.”
Do you mind that they still remind you of that series?
«I’m sorry that every time we talk about my career, we have to go back 17 years. I also did Woody Allen (To Rome with Love, ed.), no one ever says that but never mind.”
Has he raised the bar?
«From I Cesaroni onwards I learned everything on my own. I fell, I made mistakes, things I could have done better or shouldn’t have done, and all under a giant magnifying glass. I started over many times. And I’m only 37 years old.”
What would you like to do now?
«A different kind of character. Like Zendaya in Euphoria (the Sky series, ed.). I believe I could do it, it’s the others who don’t believe it. And I am also convinced that Italy could produce products of that level.”
Many actresses make their directorial debut. And she?
“It was time. A tsunami of women directors is coming and let’s hope it lasts. She wanted us: the metoo in Italy was a shadow, just a breeze arrived. I’m happy that women speak up by putting themselves behind the camera. But directing doesn’t interest me. Maybe writing. Or production.”
From Rome to England and back. Why?
«After eight years in London I returned to Rome to close a circle. I left because I needed to find myself. I was lost or maybe I didn’t know myself: starting from a very young age, I was what others wanted me to become.”
«Now I know what I want: projects I believe in 100%. Do they see me as a TV host? I do not care anymore”.
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