Monica Bellucci exclusive interview: With age I’m getting to play new characters

She’s much more than just insanely good looks and she’s here with yet another role that her fans have not seen her in before. Italian actress Monica Bellucci stars in ‘Memory’, an action-thriller headlined by Liam Neeson as she plays Davana Sealman. Davana is a businesswoman and a philanthropist who is neck-deep in some of the most disturbing crimes. 

Speaking to WION exclusively, Hollywood star Monica Bellucci talks about putting on weight for the film, her character in the film ‘Memory’ and enjoying the new phase in her career where she’s getting to experiment more than ever. 

Here are the excerpts from the chat: 

WION: What can you tell us about this multilayered role that is more gray than she appears?

Monica Bellucci: I was excited to play this role. I have not played many where I am the antagonist. There are some aspects of Davana’s life where she is a good human being, but there’s other times where she is a monster. Playing this duality interested me. For this role, I wanted to break the mould in which I have been cast most of my life. I gained some weight and the lighting and makeup also contributed to the creation of this new type of character for me.


WION: As far as the trailer goes, Davana seems consumed with attempting to resist getting older. We see her with a doctor and discussing living to the age of 135. What is your philosophy about getting older?

Monica Bellucci: It is a good thing. Age has opened up new opportunities for me to play new characters. Playing Davana Sealman in ‘Memory’ was a key to a new door for me to open. Also, for example, I am performing ‘Maria Callas: Letters and Memoirs’ in the theater in London. It is interesting because even for a character like Maria Callas, I could not play it when I was younger. To play Maria Callas you have to have experience to understand a woman like that. She is a diva with so much talent. At the same time, she is a woman with a simple heart. She died because of sadness, really.

WION: Why do you think Davana is obsessed with defying age? She discusses with the doctor about living to 135. Would you want to live to 135?

Monica Bellucci: She wants to control everything, including time and how long she will live. It is impossible to control time. You cannot do that, but she wants control of every aspect of her life. We all know you cannot.

As for living till the age of 135, no (laughs). Actually, all the people who want control want to live forever. It is impossible. Money cannot control everything!


WION: Another interesting aspect of your character in Memory is her relationship with her son. Her son does the most despicable things, but she protects him. As a mother, can you talk about that? Do you understand why your character would protect her son despite how hideous he is?

Monica Bellucci: I think she is crazy. The son is crazy as well. Protecting him also means protecting herself. In the outside world, everyone thinks she is clean. She knows if the truth comes out, she will be in trouble. So, protecting him is also protecting herself. It is not just her son.

WION: You have a strong connection with ‘Memory’ filmmaker Martin Campbell. You have both tasted success with the James Bond franchise and many others. Describe your equation with him and Liam Neeson in the film.

Monica Bellucci: I wanted to do the movie because I wanted to work with Martin. I have so much respect for him because he is a director that knows how to entertain an audience when he steps behind the camera. I also wanted to work with Liam. He is an amazing actor and human being. He was so nice and generous to me. We had some wonderful conversations and I respect him so much.

Watch the trailer here:

WION: Can you tell us about some of the conversations with Liam? What did you find interesting about Liam?

Monica Bellucci: He is full of emotions. He is a man who is incredibly deep. We talked about so many things. He is very human. I felt someone so sensitive and delicate, and I liked talking to him very much.
I think it is beautiful to have a human relationship with people who you work with. I like to work with people who I respect, and I definitely respect Liam. The next movie I am going to do is with Catherine Hardwicke and Toni Collette is called ‘Mafia Mamma’. It is a comedy and hilarious. I have not done many comedies, actually. This one is really great. I love Catherine’s work and Toni is such a great actress.

WION: One of the most dramatic scenes in Memory involves your character. It is quite violent. Can you talk about what it was like to shoot it?

Monica Bellucci: She deserves what happens in that scene (laughs). She thinks she is untouchable. That scene proves that sometimes something unpredictable can happen and she cannot control everything. She thinks she can, but she cannot.

I was a bit scared to do it. On screen, it works very well. It is very effective.

WION: How does it feel like returning to work post the pandemic?

Monica Bellucci: It is so important to be back. We have to work and do interesting things because right now the world needs poetry, arts, and beautiful things.

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