Netflix star Antonio Marziale
While clicking through movies to watch a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the Netflix film, Alex Strangelove. It is about a high school senior named Alex who plans on losing his virginity to his girlfriend. However, things go sideways when he falls for a guy named Elliot, who is played by Antonio Marziale.
Antonio took time out of his busy schedule to talk with me.
Can you tell us a little about Antonio Marziale? Where are you from and how did you start your career in acting?
I was born in London England, and moved to a small city in the Italian part of Switzerland when I was ten years old. Growing up I loved the camaraderie and ritualistic aspects of performing theater. When I was 14 I moved to the US and went to a performing arts high school in Boston. After that I studied acting at Carnegie Mellon University. I think I owe a lot of my early interest in acting to my mother, she was always taking my brother and I to theater in London. She’s also a film buff and we love watching movies together. I co-host a weekly film club in Los Angeles and I’m always calling her and bouncing around ideas of what to show next, it’s really fun.
My husband and I saw the movie Alex Strangelove last week and we absolutely loved it. You play the role of Eliot, who falls for your co-star Daniel Doheny, who plays the part of Alex Truelove. Can you tell us how you stumbled across that role?
I’m so glad you loved the film! I read the script and hadn’t read anything like it, I kept thinking this movie was calling out to me. Craig Johnson is such an exciting writer, and the scenes between Elliot and Alex felt so rhythmic, in a way that highlights how at ease the characters were with each other. When you have writing like that it makes acting really fun, you can infuse it with so much, and you can play around with it.
I felt like I understood who this guy was, I wanted to tell his story, and whenever that happens while reading a script, it’s really a special feeling. This movie has a strong message, a message that I’m passionate about, and that made the whole experience of auditioning way less nerve-racking. I knew that if I had seen this movie when I was young it would have meant a lot to me, and I really wanted to be a part of it. I felt it was claiming a space in a genre of film that was always so heavily dominated by straight narratives.
I see you are also in Altered Carbon, which is next on our list to watch. Which roles do you prefer, sci-fi, dramatic or are you testing the waters?
Sci-fi is exciting because you get to discover a completely new world (or universe in Altered Carbon’s case). Altered Carbon is based on a book, and we had this huge booklet with all this new vocabulary to learn, it was crazy. The sets were absolutely massive, and incredibly detailed, which was a gift because everything around you is infusing you into the world. Ann Foley, the costume designer, is very creative, and she put so much incredible detail into the costumes. I feel so grateful to have been a part of Altered Carbon.
Going from that to Alex Strangelove couldn’t have been more different but that’s the joy of this job, you get to dive into so many different worlds. I think every role is unique, I can’t say I prefer one or the other. I like stories that have a meaningful message. I like stories that evoke a curiosity in me.
On your Instagram account there is a clip of you singing “Daisy’s Alright.” That was amazing. I thought your voice was beautiful. You seem to have this old soul. Why that song?
That’s really sweet of you to say. Laura Marling wrote “Daisy” it’s one of my favorite songs… I find her curiosity so inspiring, and that song in particular has really affected me.
Seems we have a similar passion: photography. You shot a series called “Man as a Woman” on Instagram. It is so dynamic and creative and I love how you are turning gender norms upside down. What drives your passion?
When you’re starting your career as an actor, so little is in your control and that can be really overwhelming. It was really important to me to have a creative outlet separate from the industry. Photography allowed me to have my own creative process that I could control, while also engaging with another creative process I had very little control over. My photos went through so many evolutions very quickly. I started taking pictures of my straight male friends in dresses; I was curious to see how they changed when they put on clothing endowed with femininity. Then, after a while, I realized I was centralizing straight men in a way that wasn’t appealing to me, so I started to focus more on portraits of folks in the LGBT community.
Photography was a way for me to learn from the community, from so many people with different lived experiences than my own, and I’m really grateful for that. I hope that the series encourages people to challenge their assumptions about how physical bodies relate to gender identity and how those assumptions can be limiting and oppressive.
Wow, Antonio thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk with me. If you have not watched Alex Strangelove yet on Netflix it is a must see. Also, keep up with Antonio on Instagram @tonimarz .