Valeria Golino: The Q Interview

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The Independent Culture

Valeria Golino, 36, was born in Naples and worked as a model before breaking into film and coming to prominence at the age of 20 when Storia d'Amore won her best actress at the Venice film festival. Hollywood called, with the role of Tom Cruise's girlfriend in Rain Man, Hot Shots, and a cameo in Leaving Las Vegas. In Four Rooms, Madonna played a witch in her coven. She stars in the soon-to-be released Italian film Respiro. Valeria lives in Rome and Hollywood. She has a partner but no children "as yet".

How are you?

Hot. It is so, so hot here in Rome. It is the hottest day since 120 years, for real. You know what, I don't want to make you jealous but I am here on the phone out on my terrace, on the roof of my house. I think you can hear the horns [of the cars] beeping, no? I have in front of my face the whole of Rome and it is very blue and very beautiful. It's the morning, early, and there is the smell of a hot, hot day.

Oh, I'm in an office...

No, you cannot spend all of this beautiful day inside in the office writing about me. That is cruel for you!

I enjoyed Respiro

Did you? Really? But I am worried - do you think that people will really be wanting to go and sit in the cinema in the hottest of August? Tell me.

Maybe they'll go for the air con

Oh, OK, so we can market the film as how to stay cool. Ha-HA! Forget the photography, cinematography - this is air conditioning!

How was it filming on the little island of Lampedusa?

This is my blood. I am half-Greek and half-Italian and this is my element. I loved it, I was wild, with my hair in the wind, doing a lot of underwater, holding my breath, using my body, kicking and doing fighting...

Not very luxurious...

Well, there was a trailer for me, but of course everyone came in it for the shelter. The extras came in there and children and men and dogs, many dogs... Of course, I would not do such a thing as to tell them go away, but it was ... crowded.

What do you think epitomises style?

It's the lack of uh, uh, it's the lack of stiffness. Being at ease with yourself. I don't know how the word is... I like women, or men, where I see the elegance but not the effort of the preparation. If I feel the effort, then style is out of the window. Of course you have to thought about it, but not let it show! I think you've asked me this question and I've just woken up... you're really naughty. I'm going to be in this really important newspaper telling a lot of bullshit about my opinions.

What will heaven be like?

Well, you really catch me there because I don't believe in it, and I'm not saying this with lightness, because I wish I had faith, but I don't. I've thought about it a lot, but heaven is really not part of my imagination.

Any bad habits?

I had the habit of smoking forever, which has just stopped a few months ago. So I am very proud of myself. Very proud, and very fat! I gained so much weight I don't know what to do with myself. All I do is eat now. And eating is heaven. Food is heaven, particularly in Italy! If I imagine heaven, I imagine a sea of pasta! Any shape - penne regardo, ravioli, fusilli, angel hair, they'll all be there, just for me. Actually, I have all kind of bad habits, but dunno if I know you enough to share them. Only the occasional heroin fix... You gotta put: "Just a joke".

When was the last time you cried?

Mmm. A couple of days ago. I have periods when I cry too easily and I have to hide. We women, when we cry, it is a very powerful thing we have with our men. So if you do it too often it loses its power, you know? They cannot be thinking "OK, she's gonna cry again..." So I rrrrrun, like when I was a child, in the bathroom so they cannot see me. Because I wanna use it - if I'm gonna cry it better be useful! There are times when I don't cry for months, when I am more numb, in a good way - I am more protected and serene. You take a little vacation from yourself, no? Then there are times when everything moves me, everything. People I don't know in the street can make me cry because of the look in their eye or the position of the body.

In relationships, are you the seducer or the seducee?

Maybe this is a bit of both always, so that nothing is artificial... I prefer to... [knocking noise] Oh no, oh no, I have been locked out! [more knocking] Oi, oi - my boyfriend has locked me on the roof! And now he is sleeping. You know what? This is relationships! 'Ermione, let me go, eh? Have a great great day - I have to go and break into my home. Ciao bella.

'Respiro' is out on 8 August