An interview with Italian actor Manuel Soro
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how and when did you first get into performing?
Hi, yes…my name is Manuel Soro, I’m 34 years old and I’m an Italian actor current living, working, chasing his dream here in Los Angeles. I had the honour and privilege to study at the best acting school in the world, Stella Adler Academy in LA, which granted me a scholarship and with its generosity gave me the chance to become a professional actor, but mainly an artist. I feel blessed to be able to do what I really love, as I know very well what it feels like to live ‘someone else’s’ life, or doing things that instead of giving us joy, they simply massage our egos. Been there, done that…wasn’t happy, turned my life around, and here I am today. I first got into performing as a kid, in small school productions, but what I remember even more clearly is when I used to perform for my friends in the afternoon, after playing soccer on the streets of my neighbourhood: I used to do imitations of people from different Italian region, with different dialects and attitudes. My friends used to love it, I was maybe 6-7 years old at the time. I then went on becoming an acclaimed bartender and mixologist in London, before pursuing my acting career. I used to perform in cocktail competitions, some of them on TV, which were all performances in front of large audience, sometimes with costumes and always made of storytelling. In 2008 I won the title of Best Bartender in England, which was also after performing in competition finals around the country. In general I like to think that even only tending a bar is a performance, as you’re performing for your guests. When I think about it today, I think that thought me more about human beings and people than everything else, and that’s essential for acting. But anyway, yes, I’ve been performing my whole life. Performing is how I survived up until today, I guess. Only now I’m conscious about it…
What inspired you to get into the entertainment industry?
I’ve always wanted to be an actor. That’s always been my dream, since when I was little. Grown ups, friends, family, baby sitters…I remember they used to tell me ‘You should be an actor’ and it went on and on my whole life. When I was really young, and pretty much my best friend was the television, I used to watch movies and think ‘I wanna be that guy’. And that was giving me joy; it was a gateway or an escape from the reality I was in which…wasn’t making me too happy, but that’s another long story. I always pursued acting training, without ever being able to commit because of my other jobs. Once I left London, where I moved at the age of 19, and my old life behind, I departed for a year long round the world trip, on my own. I grabbed all my saving and went off for this long dreamed of adventure, at the discovery of the world, mainly the one within me, though. Two months into my trip, I got spotted by a film director, who came from New Zealand to shoot and produce his movie ‘Spanish Diamonds’. He saw something in me, asked me to audition and gave me the lead role. I remember the first day of filming, the very first scene, after they just turned on the camera and called ‘action’, the very clear thought in my head ‘I love this. This is what I want to be doing’. I went on finishing my year long travel, which made me look inside myself even deeper and grow even more confident about that feeling, as I guess sometimes the size of our dreams tends to scare us a little. But no…not this time, I was all for it!
What kind of training have you had, if any?
Stella Adler Academy of Acting, 2 years intensive program.
What has been your favorite role to play so far?
Stanley in ‘ Street car named Desire’, by Tennessee Williams. Role famously played by my favourite actor ever, Marlon Brando. So yes…no pressure…
What has been one of the most exciting achievements of your career so far?
Apart from graduating from such an intense and challenging course of study like the one at Stella, I’d definitely say being casted in the forth upcoming season of the famous TV show ‘Black Jesus’, which airs on Adult Swim. I never worked in such a big production before and I absolutely loved it. Everyone was so nice and professional, it was mind blowing. I felt even a little spoiled at times, which I didn’t mind. And most importantly I felt that my work and performance were elevated by the ones of others, because everyone there was so good. Sometimes I was thinking ‘What the hell am I doing here?!’. I grew a lot and discovered a lot more about trusting my instincts as an actor, as before I knew it, after two days I was casted, it was already time to shoot, so no much time for preparation. I found out in those cases, you just have to go with it and say ‘Fuck it, give what you have and do what you do. But don’t screw it up!’ It was liberating somehow…
What projects do you have coming up?
I have a feature coming up at the beginning of the new year, a short film and a theatre project. I’m not gonna talk about them in more details because I’m very superstitious about these things and I don’t wanna bring bad luck to myself, especially in an industry when projects constantly rise and fall and delays are a normal routine. Everything seems pretty finalised though, so hopefully I can be more specific very soon.
Who would you most like to work with?
I would like to work with anyone whose work allows me to dig deeper into mine, and makes me grow as an artist and as a human being. One of my all time favourite is Al Pacino. It’d be an honour to share the screen with him once, or just to be around while he’s working, even in the far off distance…I’d still be able to ‘steal’ something. So much to learn, guys!. He’d probably hate me though, ’cause I’d bombard him with questions incessantly. Otherwise Penelope Cruz. And I don’t I think I need to explain why….
What are your plans for the future?
Keep acting, keep loving. And try to spend more time with my family back home. It’s hard being so far away. Then after five minutes I’m back around my parents, we’re already arguing, I know that, but it’s fine…that’s the way we are, and I love them more than anything. I’d love to have them closer to me. Who knows…maybe I’ll be able to bring them here with me one day, let’s see how it goes, or at least I’ll manage to go back and visit them more often. I also miss my friends back home immensely: I grew up with them and that’s nothing short then family for me. I’m just lucky I’m blessed with a family of good friends here in LA too. -Anyway…there’s a moment for everything…
What is your advice to aspiring performers?
I don’t feel in the position of giving advice to anyone; if anything I’d actually feel more in the one of asking advice to everyone! But still, the only thing I would say, to myself primarily, is to never chase the result, the success or the fame, but to keep doing what we love doing simply because we love doing it. In the present, now. That’s it. All the rest doesn’t matter, it’s just an illusion. This is the only way to be, and stay, free.