Interview with Antonello Grimaldi (Director)
How did you get to participate in this project?
I decided to direct the project because it was an important challenge: have one of the most important Italian comedian playing in a story that was not just funny, but also an investigation and detection story with a realistic background deeply bonded to the home region of the lead actor, Mr. Lino Banfi.
How would you describe Pasquale Zagaria as a character?
He is a detective of a small southern Italy town, Lecce, who works more dealing with his personal knowledge of the people and of their souls rather than with action and guns. He likes to eat very well; he is more like a father than a boss with the people he works with and when he finds someone guilty, he wants to talk to him in order to understand the reasons that brought him to act against the law.
After knowing you were to be the director, how did you select the cast and why did you decide to go for Lino Banfi for Zagaria's role?
Lino Banfi was already attached when I came onboard and this was because the series has been created specifically for him; the other cast members have been mainly selected among actors with a solid stage experience, with a strong privilege for those who were really from that part of Italy, Puglia. And this to maintain the same kind of southern inflection in order to get the story the most realistic as possible.
Europe has a tradition of famous detectives in TV and cinema with Sherlock Holmes, Maigret, and Poirot; did you borrow something from those classics to inspire your Zagaria, or did you want something completely original?
I don’t think we can speak about a real inspiration in this case, but for sure the detective closer to Zagaria is the French Maigret, whose way to investigate is very similar. Besides that, I believe this is a pretty classic series, where the originality stays in the use of an unpredictable actor for the main role.
Italy is known for its well-made detective series; what do you consider is different in The Salento Murders? What makes this series special?
The peculiarity in this series is the deep humanity of the characters and the relationships among them. Look at Zagaria: he is a detective, but sometimes acts as a person, helping people, giving them advice, being able to get the truth out of them, in a very wise and empathetic way.
Back in 2012, there were rumors of filming more parts of the series; was it really true or only gossip?
That was an idea we had been really discussing at the time, but unfortunately, as of today, it didn’t happen. But you never know . . .
Why should people in the rest of the world not miss this series?
Because it tells a fine story, filled with turns of events, very well played by a wonderful ensemble of actors, with a clean direction (but maybe I shouldn’t be the one saying so!).
Furthermore, you will come to know a part of Italy - Salento - and a town, Lecce, which are among the most beautiful and fascinating in the entire world!
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