Nicolas Vaporidis is an Italian actor who got famous nationwide in 2006 after shooting Notte prima degli esami [The night before the Exam], a film about high school that quickly became a cult movie in Italy.
Many years on, he has grown into the kind of super-celebrity paparazzi would follow everywhere and, at the same time, he’s also the type of guy you wouldn’t see in car insurance commercials.
All the years Nicolas spent in the movie industry culminated in the launch of an independent production label called Drive Production Company he created in 2015 with fellow actors Matteo Branciamore and Primo Reggiani. Together, they produce the sort of offbeat things everybody enjoys watching but no one wants to put money into.
Their innovative short films offered the opportunity to arrange this interview with Nicolas Vaporidis about life, football, films and a London restaurant called Miraggio which doesn’t exist anymore.
Thank you for meeting me, Nicolas.
Have we met before? I must have seen you somewhere.
Probably in some squatted schools in the 00s. We are just three years apart.
Anyway, I have certainly seen you somewhere. On the screen.
Do you mind if I smoke?
OK. Got it.
If you smoke close to that window, I’ll be fine. But let’s start this out. After getting your A-Levels in Rome, you first enrolled in a Communications Degree, but then you left for London. Why?
I was 18, I had just finished school and I wanted to have some real-life experience. I chose London because I was already fluent in English and also because it is a land of opportunity and inspiration. London is like a European New York [please note that this interview took place before Brexit became effective and London ceased being a land of opportunity for Europeans], and it turned out to be the perfect choice for what I was looking for at the time. I basically took a gap year and I started working as a waiter at Miraggio, a restaurant in Fulham Broadway. Sadly, the restaurant closed down in the end. I moved there with just a suitcase and £200 in my wallet, and that’s it. I wanted something different from what I had experienced at school, but I was not running away. I moved on my own at first. Then, a very good friend of mine came over, too. We shared the same bed for months, we are like brothers now. He ended up staying in London in the end, he got married and has a daughter now. I still visit London many times a year; London is still a part of me.
And then you returned to Italy and became an actor.
After about a year in London, I returned to Italy and enrolled in a drama school, and when I got an agent, I started doing auditions and it all began from there. But it wasn’t an easy life; I went on making movies but nothing changed for a long time. When I said I was an actor, people would ask me what restaurant I was working for… and they were right; I was still working as a waiter in Rome to pay the bills and support my acting career. That was useful for my art, too, in a way. Definitely. Both in a restaurant and on a movie set you cannot plan ahead anything and must be prepared to deal with the unexpected. I developed a strong ability to face issues and solve problems quickly. Then I made Night Before the Exam and everything changed, suddenly.
What was your dream job as a child?
I had no idea. I wanted to do so many different things, I just kept changing my mind all the time. I wanted to become an astronaut, then a gardener and then I wanted to become the man in charge of installing gas cylinders. I wasn’t definitely born with that big dream of becoming an actor: everything I knew was that I loved the arts and I loved to tell stories. I’m definitely someone who loves being creative, whether it is for a novel, a script or a movie; I am a storyteller, and I am passionate about telling stories that inspire people.
I heard you saying that you don’t play team sports. Have you ever played football? Where did you get your team spirit from?
I’ve mostly played solo sports in my life, such as tennis, horse riding, skiing, boxing, and tennis. I don’t really conceive team sports… to play a sport for me is a way to overcome my own limits, to challenge myself. But this doesn’t apply to my working life at all: you can’t make a movie on your own, and team spirit is crucial in what I do. Anyway, to answer your question, no, I don’t play football.
But you do support AS Roma football club.
Sure. Everybody supports AS Roma in Rome, even cats and dogs.
How it does feel to get constantly interviewed about your private life? Is it annoying?
Well, it’s all part of the game. My private life is no secret, I just don’t like to talk about it; you learn how to manage this by simply not talking about it. You learn how not to lose your temper, you understand that this is how things work and you don’t take it personally. Plus, I don’t think an actor should be talking about their life that much. I don’t sell myself in any way. I don’t make crap films, I don’t do films I wouldn’t watch myself. I choose my scripts and I choose the projects I want to focus on. I exclusively do things that genuinely interest me. With me, what you see is what you get.
Pictures were provided from Nicolas Vaporidis’ private collection © belongs to their respective owners
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