I found Lara on line searching for blogs about London, my second favourite city after Rome. She has called her blog London Calling and this led me to discover her world. Her irony and vivid style immediately caught my attention.Then I went back several times and I found out, little by little, how special she is. Lara Parmiani is an Italian actress living between Italy and London. She is totally bilingual and has experience in film, TV, theatre and voice over. She's even a published writer.
I thought it would be nice to let you all know her and her work in my space dedicated to MY BLOGGER BUDDIES : WOMEN, READERS, WRITERS , FRIENDS and , from today on, also … ACTRESSES!
So, Lara, it is a bit strange to speak English between us since we are both Italian but, as my readers are mostly English speakers, we’ll have to do it. And it seems you don’t have any problem at all! First let me say it’s a great pleasure to have you as a guest on my blog . Then, I’d like to start by asking ... you live and work in England, in London. When did you start and why?
Like most things in my life living in London wasn’t really a decision, it kind of happened little by little. After graduating from Accademia Dei Filodrammatici – the oldest drama school in Italy – I started auditionning for theatre shows and films; but most castings were fake, talent wasn’t really the main factor... I did lots of “dubbing”, some children TV and a couple of shows but I felt condemned to being just a “voice in the shadow”. Not that I don’t like voice over work, it’s fun, but I wanted more. But all doors were shut. I’m 1mt55, flat chested and I’ve always looked way younger than my age. Quite intellectual and a feminist... Not exactly the type that’s so popular in Rome!
By the way Maria Grazia, you mention Rome as your favorite city, well, I’m afraid I equal Rome with hell. A place for lost souls, corruption and sin. I hate it. Of course it’s beautiful but it’s so fake, so rotting, nothing works, nobody takes you seriously, and it’s still terribly provincial. Then one summer, I think in 1994, my singing teacher, who was from London, suggested I should do a short musical theatre course at Central School of Speech and Drama, just as an experience. I’m also a singer so I thought it’d be fun. I had only been in London once before, in 1986, on an EF language holiday and I’d found it a bit scary, full of punks and skinned heads. But when I arrived in 1994 I immediately felt so free and happy. Free even in the silliest things. For instance, I’ve an insane passion for clothes, but not for labels, for original, creative stuff; in Italy everyone wears the same style, colour, shape, they’re all obsessed with labels...
2. What are the pros and cons of living in London?
In general, lots of people come to London looking for dreams, for themselves, for a better life, but often they find solitude and disappointment. It’s typical of all big metropolis. There are lots of angry people around.
2. When did you understand you WERE an actress?
3. What are the works you’ve done so far you love most? And the one you dream about?
“He knew he was right” as it was such a huge set, with all those costumes, and people running around. And I had my own driver who picked me up in the morning! Very posh... I dream about doing Chechov with a great director. I know I’ll never work with my idol Peter Brook as he’s too old and I’m too unknown, but my goal is to work at that level, with that amount of passion. And I’d love to do a film with Meryl Streep of course. Just to watch her and learn. She’s amazing.
4. What are you currently doing?
5. People who visit my blog love books, especially classics. What about you? What kind of reader are you ? What are your favourite authors and books?
Ann Pratchett (Run and Belcanto are fantastic books), Lionel Shriver (We need to talk about Kevin is one of the most compelling books I’ve read in the past 10 years), Carol Shields, Anne Tyler, Joyce Carol Oates... They manage to talk about “big things” through very small, every day stories. I used to love Hanif Kureishi, especially his tales of lost men in grim contemporary London, but recently he’s become repetitive. Same for Mc Ewan, I prefer his early work. I appreciate the American Paul Aulster and of course Philip Roth. I love also some Japanese writers like Kazuo Ishiguro, and Murakami. There’s something surreal and melancholic about their writing. I’m currently reading “Half a yellow sun” by a Nigerian writer - another beautiful book. I haven’t read the classics in a very long time I must confess. I love them, I read all Jane Austen, George Eliot etc when I first arrived in England but, as I said, I now prefer books whose symbolism and message can throw a ray of light on my life, whose main characters I can identify with.
6. You are also a writer. Then tell us something about your writing.
I started the blog, London Calling, about 2 and a half years ago. I wanted to share my experience of a foreigner living in London. I’d like to be more consistent. Or perhaps choose some themes. I’m open to suggestions!!
7. Many of the people who drop by or regularly read my blog have an interest in period drama and costume films, just like me. What about you? Have you ever worked in a period drama or film? Would you like to do it?
As I told you, I worked in “He knew he was right” for the BBC. Brilliant! But in the editing they cut most of my scenes!!!! I shot for two weeks in Orvieto and one week at Elstree Studios in London... And all that was left was one scene where I just nodded a couple of times to my “master” (I was the peasant maid from Italy with pre-raphaelite looks...) and then said “no signore...” How disappointing! Well, better than Kevin Costner who in his first film, The big chill, saw all his scenes cut and just appeared as a corpse!!!
(Lara as Maria in He Knew He was Right)
8. Listen Lara… Ehm … I’ve recently discovered that the majority of the visits I receive here on Fly High are due to another interest of mine: neither books nor costume drama. You know, I write a weekly post about a colleague of yours who is quite popular in the blogosphere and the Net in general. He is not famous in Italy, I just happened to discover him by chance in 2008, buying a DVD from Amazon UK. I wanted to use it in my Victorian classes: BBC North and South 2004. Have you ever heard of … Richard Armitage? … Met him?
Do you know? You’d be great in a costume drama with him!
Are you sure ladies wouldn't notice this tall handsome guy shopping at Tesco's? I'd bet on it.
So you don’t know he has his own Army on line ( I’m not in the Army, neither the Armitage Army, since I am a convinced and committed pacifist), counting thousands of fans all over the world? You should check, anyhow. And, please Lara, if you should actually meet Richard -at Tesco's or anywhere else - give him my regards and best wishes. BTW, he is not loved by his fans for being attractive only but also extremely talented and extraordinarily hard-working, modest, humane and generous.
Now Lara, thank you for answering my questions and GOOD LUCK with your work. I’ll wait for you here. Not in Rome, then, but in my small town, Subiaco. They have shot lots of films here (i.e. Metello, Elisa Di Rivombrosa, Il grande sogno, Baciami ancora). Maybe … one day… Never say never!