Stefano Cassetti • Actor
An Italian anti-hero
by Valeria Chiari
- An encounter with Cedric Kahn transformed this Venetian into the star of Roberto Succo - the true story of the serial killer who terrorised France in the '80s
Paris is worth a... film. Transformed, Henry IV’s famous words also apply to Italian film actorr, Stefano Cassetti. The young Venetian decided to celebrate his degree in design with a trip to the Ville Lumière where, during a dinner, film director, Cedric Kahn offered him the opportunity to play Roberto Succo, a psychopathic serial killer and archetypal anti-hero. “ I thought about this role long and hard,” he tells us, “because Succo was a heartless murderer and I feared a film about him would glorify him but Cédric Kahn, the director, was able to reassure me.”
Roberto Succo is hardly the object of national pride. In 1981 at the age of 19, he murdered his parents in Mestre. After being incarcerated in Reggio Emilia, Succo was subjected to a series of psychiatric exams, none of which revealed any ongoing condition. After escaping from jail in 1986, Succo fled to France where he gave vent to a new killing spree. “Of course I’d heard about Succo. Where I come from, they’ve even named one part of the Mestre football stadium for him, the “Succo Brigade” but Cedric Kahn forbade me reading either Pascal Froment’s biography of Succo, “I will kill you” and the inspiration for this film or Bernard Maria Koltès’ play “Roberto Zucco”. Kahn wanted me to be a spontaneous as possible and this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
Kahn had no intention of presenting Succo in an heroic light, unlike Koltès’s play, and the man who directed L’ennui, prefered to explore the public and private aspects of this serial killer without giving into the temptation of analysing or judging Succo. “Funnily enough, my task was made easier by my ignorance of the French language, the language I was supposed to act in. I managed to say the most awful things without fully understanding the meaning and thus my character comes through in all his remorseless heartlessness,” said Cassetti.”
Roberto Succo was recaptured in 1988 and jailed in Treviso where he subsequently committed suicide. Roberto Succo, was first seen at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and will shortly be released in Italy.
In the meantime, Stefano Cassetti is fast becoming an affirmed designer without neglecting “l’ars recitandi”. He had a small part in Luc Besson’s latest production, Michel Vaillant, directed by Louis-Pascal Couvelaire and should be boarding a noir entitled Bras d’honneur, directed by Mario Luraschi. “Acting was a wonderful experience that I’d love to repear,” said Cassetti. “However, I’ve no intention of living under the stress that so many actors experience when they wait for months before getting a new job.”
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