Luca Malacrino is a Welsh/Italian actor, you might recognise him from his roles on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders as well as his recent role on Grey’s Anatomy…
What is your background?
I am a Welsh/Italian. My parents are both Italian, my mother from Trieste and my father from Calabria. However, despite being Italian by blood, I can proudly say that I am a Welshman! I was born and raised in Cardiff but also lived in Italy for a total of four years.
Where would people recognise you from?
I am most likely recognised from my roles on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, where I had the pleasure of working alongside the incredible Paul Sorvino & Aida Turturro, as well as my recent role on Grey’s Anatomy.
Why did you want to become an Actor?
Once understanding that I could use my personal experiences to carry stories and emotions to other people, I knew immediately that I had found my correct path in life. I remember the feeling I had when performing for the first time at The St David’s Hall in Cardiff, it was a show produced by The Actor’s Workshop and remember standing there with an energy I find impossible to explain even to this day – but when it hits you, it hits you hard.
How did you prepare to become an Actor? How Did you get into it?
Previous to acting, I owned two nightclubs in the Welsh capitol. I was pretty settled but still knew it was not quite the right industry for me long term. I was at a friend’s barbecue and was asked the question “If I could choose a new skill-set, what would it be?” My reply was acting and my closest friend, Scott Oconnor forced me to book a workshop, there and then, with The Actor’s Workshop. Following the course, I was incredibly fortunate to meet a lifelong friend and coach, Rebecca Hardy. She coached me every step of the way until I finally decided it was time to sell my businesses and everything I had worked hard for in Cardiff, and learn the craft to the best of my abilities. I auditioned and was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to The American Musical & Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in Los Angeles. I packed up my things, sold my businesses and that is where my journey really began.
What was your first acting job?
My first professional acing job was in a play at the Los Angeles Theatre within one month of graduating from AMDA. I played the role of Mike Maffucci, a notorious New York gangster in the Pulitzer prize winning play, No Place to Be Somebody. The show ran for two months and I could not have asked for a better introduction to the professional acting world.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Most definitely working on, and getting lost within the backstory and lives of the characters I play. I spend days, weeks, months understanding the roles and choosing the way the character walks, talks, holds themselves and even small quirks like personal secrets. It is so fun and creative and I often spend hours at coffee shops on Hollywood Blvd ‘people watching’. It is fascinating the things we do as human beings!
What was your scariest day on the job?
My scariest day so far was when turning up to CBS studios for the table read ahead of Criminal Minds. I was in a room full of producers, writers, incredibly talented artists and looked up to see the name Paul Sorvino opposite mine. I was nervous enough as it was, playing such a beautifully dark role for all these industry leaders, but to find out my main scene partner was an icon I grew up watching in an Italian household, the butterflies were alive and kicking! However, before the read started, Paul Sorvino looked at me, gave me a wink and started belting a classical Italian opera song, which ended with the entire room clapping and laughing. It was the best ice-breaker anyone could have asked for! It started off scary, but turned out to be one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life?
There are so many incredible ways! Firstly, being around such passionate and creative artists is something I thank God for on a daily basis. It gives me the energy when I am down and the boost when I am burnt out and have made life long friendships on the way. Also, being thanked for sharing an emotion on stage or film that connects with someone is a feeling money cannot buy. I know there are movies I watched growing up and still watch to this day watch that have a positive effect on the way I live and make decisions.
Who is the biggest influence in your career?
My biggest influence growing up as an artist is Dustin Hoffman. I have studied his techniques, characters, and find it truly mind blowing the attention to detail he gives himself when attacking a role. I also have to say my family as a whole is most definitely another huge influence. My parents are extremely strong and passionate individuals and watching them take major risks and achieving such great achievements whilst growing up really opened my eyes.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Having had the opportunity to film with Academy Award winning director, The Godfather’s very own, Francis Ford Coppola. Last year I filmed a passion project of his called Distant Vision and spent days workshopping scenes before then actually filming. He would coach me, and I would spend hours listening to his stories form being on set with the likes of Al Pacino & Marlon Brando. I dreamed of one day meeting this director and then for him to be calling my name, as well as directing me…. I felt like I was on Cloud 9!
Where do you see yourself/what do you see yourself doing in 5 years? / What’s the dream?
I plan on continuing to focus on television & film this year and have some new exciting projects in the pipeline. I am also extremely grateful to be producing a pilot, in which I also star in, called Served. This is being pitched to networks later this year. The longterm goal is to establish a production company with the people I enjoy working closely with to bring artistic & meaningful scripts to life. I often get asked if I would ever like to return to the U.K. and if the right project came up, I would love to film on home soil! If it meant I could be filming as well as enjoying my grandparent’s company & Italian cooking at the same time, it’s a no-brainer -haha.
Aside from acting, what would be your ideal job?
This is tricky because acting is genuinely the only career I see myself doing as it is a beautiful addiction, however if I had to, I believe it would be something situated within psychology and the human mind. Knowing that the average person only uses 10% of their mind fascinates me and I often wonder what else could we potentially do.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
From a young age I have always been interested in business. I started up my first events company at the age of sixteen, then went on to online advertising, marketing, import/export and lastly, bars & nightclubs. Therefor, I have always enjoyed creating new concepts, ideas and generic entrepreneurship.
Who was the most influential person to you as a child?
Most definitely my grandparents. I spent a lot of my childhood with them and they are truly, truly inspiring. If it wasn’t for their initial courage to leave Italy with nothing, to start a better life, I wouldn’t be here chasing my dreams today. They have been married for over 60 years and their souls are filled with nothing but love & kindness. It is hard being on the other side of the world and go from seeing them weekly, to only a few times a year, but thanks to Skype I get to video call them now with ease.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy hiking, exploring and most of all cooking! There is nothing better than popping into the store on the way home, picking out some random ingredients and cooking with a solid Spotify playlist on in the background…. All with the help of glass or two of wine. -haha
What is your favourite thing about Cardiff?
I was back home for Christmas and after not being back in over a year, I forgot just how warm and welcoming the city is! People constantly smiling and a true sense of pride filled the streets! I am trying my best to plan another trip home soon and being a lifelong season ticket holder, I need to make sure I fit in a Cardiff City game! Bluebirds!
What gets you out of bed each morning ?
The urge to grow. I truly believe happiness is created when growing both mentally and physically. The thought of learning a new technique, life skill or creating a new relationship gets me up every day!
What are some of your greatest challenges with Acting as a career?
The greatest challenge for me is finding balance. It is extremely difficult to plan your week as you never know when your agent could call with an audition or film dates.
What is one piece of advice would you give to other young Actors starting out?
(What is a DO and what is a DON’T?)
DO – If you are truly serious in making it a career, I believe it is crucial to learn your craft. Just like any other career, you need to understand what you are doing and you never stop learning. I still take weekly classes and enjoy watching myself and my peers grow week in-week out.
DON’T – From this past rollercoaster of a year I’ve had, I believe you should not solely rely on the people around you. As an actor you are your own business and believe people often forget that. I set myself daily tasks just like any other business would and do not recommend just waiting on managers, agents etc to do the work for you.