Alessio Lapice: playing the role of young Antonio

Alessio Lapice, who plays the role of young Antonio Spinelli, pictured at the premiere of IO STO BENE on Tuesday 5 October at Kinepolis Kirchberg.  Sandra Santioni Photography

Alessio Lapice, who plays the role of young Antonio Spinelli, pictured at the premiere of IO STO BENE on Tuesday 5 October at Kinepolis Kirchberg.  Sandra Santioni Photography

Alessio Lapice talks about his experience while on set in Luxembourg for almost two months, and what it felt like taking on the role of young Antonio who transitioned at various stages in the movie IO STO BENE.

The role of young Antonio in the IO STO BENE (I am fine) movie by Donato Rotunno was played by Alessio Lapice. Born in 1991 in Naples he studied acting in Rome. He made his debut in the TV series Gomorra and was featured in the 2016 movie Il padre d’Italia by Fabio Mollo. 

In IO STO BENE, one of the first scenes in the movie opens with Antonio, his cousin Vito and their friend Giuseppe, who are on a trip to greener pastures due to the difficult economic situation at the end of the 1960s.

The twists and turns experienced on their individual journeys to success test their friendship as they struggle to maintain their bond despite the distance and challenges of working in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. But it was something else that would one day estrange this trio of friends and keep Antonio in the grand duchy for the rest of his life.

“Antonio is a strong character, and there’s something about the look in his eyes, his mind, his glance, his body language… I always think that when you meet some characters, it is a lesson for us, and this was the first reason why I took on this role. I could discover my life across the characters. There were moments that were filled with so many emotions for me but at the same time, the trip has been incredible,” says Alessio, emphasising how deeply Antonio’s story resonates with him.

The variety of themes in the movie encompass the challenges of immigration, love, deceit, unfair treatment of labourers, dealing with loss and old age, loneliness and everything else that comes with life. “I think this movie really reflects people trying to do their best with all the difficulties and challenges that life could throw at you, and this is also experienced by Antonio,” he adds.

“I felt so connected with Antonio. I grabbed him by the hand and we got on this trip together. It’s his trip but at the same time, our trip. Travelling back in time together, the trip was like a blank paper, where you need to take note of everything, as we see Antonio do in the movie. Discovering a new language, love, a new lifestyle different from that of his homeland… because really, he is trying to discover himself.”

The actor who had to pick up French and Luxembourgish for the role described the experience as a “fun challenge”. After staying in Luxembourg for almost two months during the shoot, he says “the place where you shoot becomes a part of you, especially when you do a story so deep and intense like the IO STO BENE movie.”

In addition, he discusses learning about the challenges of immigration, especially for those faced with the fear of not knowing at what point they may be asked to leave a country, or the restrictions and difficulties of not being able to speak a language.  Another strong observation Lapice makes is how the desires and aspirations of people for love and to build a life, even in a different age and time, are still alike in many ways today. “Antonio’s story tells the process of life,” he explains.

A scene in which Antonio is overwhelmed by loneliness and goes out for a smoke with a friend, is an experience Lapice likens to his own during a Christmas Eve spent away from home, having left Naples for Rome to follow his acting dream at the age of 18. Concerning his expectations for the movie, Alessio says he looks forward to “seeing a full cinema” and fans should remember that “this is our story and you can’t miss seeing it.” IO STO BENE is released in cinemas across Luxembourg from 13 October, with selected screenings with English subtitles.

Alessio Lapice was nominated in 2019 for the Nastro d’Argento and Ciack d’oro for his role in Matteo Rovere’s film Romulus and Remus: The First King.