During this very challenging time of the Corona virus hitting us, many of us have been forced to stand still and feel this awareness of what’s working in our lives and what’s not and to learn from that, to make a better future for ourselves when life starts to move more fully again. We have been forced to live in the present more than ever and see our true values more clearly, a chance to restructure our lives, be more creative . To see what’s been hiding and needs to be healed. To unite and connect with each other as human beings sharing this planet together. To see that we have the power to help one another as a human race, with no divide or judgement.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Francesca De Luca
There is no doubt that Francesca De Luca is a an actress with unique talent and drive. She was born in London England , of Italian descent and moved to Los Angeles nearly six years ago to pursue her acting career. Having extensively trained in London, New York and LA her impressive acting talent was soon discovered by Francis Ford Coppola who personally auditioned hundreds of actors for his latest film project” Distant Vision”. She is one of the few actors to have worked with one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. She has acted in many award winning film festival films such as Passports and Jeremiah Tower The Last Magnificent. Repped by LA based CSP Management , Francesca has several exciting projects on the horizon.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It started when I was a child. When I was growing up my mother encouraged me to express myself doing dance classes and acting, which I loved. I felt free and at home on the stage. At 16 I auditioned for the school play and the teacher who was the director, impressed by my acting talent , offered me a choice of roles;; the lead role of the 50yr old German, hunchbacked, owner of a lunatic asylum, who goes mad at the end of the play.. or the small role of flirtatious nurse. Guess which role I chose?! You guessed it.. I loved the idea of the challenge! A big meaty role and a character so far from myself! The nurse role would have made me more popular with the boys, so maybe I was crazy, but I felt excited! When the first night arrived my best friend did not recognize me on stage and said to my mother “When is Francesca on stage? “ I found that really funny, and a compliment to my acting! That year I won the best actress cup at school. After that I felt hooked on acting , real acting , where you completely immerse yourself into a role and I knew that I wanted more of that and to dedicate my life to it.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think that has to be when I was playing the role of Titania in the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is a role I played twice firstly in a tiny little fringe theater in London, the second in big theaters on tour. In the intimate little theater that held about 60 people, you could almost hear people breath. One night, while giving a long one page speech, I was distracted by a boy who was reading the lines of the play in his book, rustling the pages as he flipped them over. And suddenly, boom, I was brought out of my ‘zone’, went completely blank and forgot my next line! That moment felt sooooo long. It felt like a whole minute had passed, though must have only been seconds. I felt complete panic, saw eyes gazing up at me.The text was written in iambic pentameter like a poem, so it wasn’t exactly easy to improvise! I remember , after that eternal pause, making up a sentence that didn’t make much sense , which in hindsight is hilarious, especially as the boy following the script would have been very confused! I managed to get back on track thankfully though it’s not something I’d want to go through again!
After that time, if I ever had a problem remembering a line , I learnt the art of improvising ,disguising the mistake and making it look natural. And you know, it’s so much easier to improvise if it’s not Shakespeare!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I was recently cast as a lead in a wonderful sci fi feature film called Mekala, The Beginning . Anthony A Kung the talented writer and director approached me about it,, as he is finishing final touches on the script and felt I’d be great casting for the powerful female lead role of Mekala. I’m looking forward to expressing strength and vulnerability in this role. It’s come at a time in my life that I feel able to genuinely reveal this, so I’m really looking forward to filming this in 2021. Filming will be in Louisiana which is an area I’ve always wanted to visit too and experience the food, music and culture so that’ll be a bonus if I have any time off during filming.
I love the variety of acting in all genres , drama , thrillers, sci fi and comedy I like to mix it up. A great script is the most important to me, it all starts there. In 2016 I played a lead in a TV pilot Down and Out written by talented comedy writer Annie C Wright and am looking forward to working with her again on her new series ‘Buds’ produced by and starring Jonathan Fishman. My character makes her grand entrance in the series. I love that this is subject matter that hasn’t been tackled yet in the world of tv comedy. It’s set in a longterm care facility for the elderly and centers around the workers and visitors there fielding the complaints of the elderly.
Another project in development is a film with up and coming actor, producer Omari Washington. We met at the Citizen Skull Productions Christmas party, we both are with the same management . After seeing my work , he expressed interest in working with me on an exciting film , a crime drama he is writing called Cruel Deeds.
Before the Corona virus hit, I was filming comedy sketches every couple of weeks which is fun and good constant practice. I can’t wait to get back to filming very soon. We all need comedy more than ever now. I know I do!
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Well, the most interesting one has to be Francis Ford Coppola. I couldn’t believe it when I received an audition for his last film project Distant Vision. He was looking for actors who were of Italian descent and who had worked as actors in theater and also film. He was experimenting with “Live Cinema” a new innovation so being able to act for long periods of time like you would in a play was an important part to it ,as well as film acting where there are closeups. I couldn’t believe when I auditioned that Francis would be in the room and as I greeted him I said “ Piacere” ( pleased to meet you, in Italian ) I was shaking with sudden nerves but soon relaxed as he was so warm and authentic . He was so easy to talk with, I felt like I’d known him for years. He told me I reminded him of his daughter Sophia , which I was moved by and I told him he reminded me of my grandfather ( I meant that as a compliment as my grandfather raised me with my mother, he was a wonderful father figure) We chatted for about 15 minutes and he asked me about my Italian heritage and at the end of the audition he made a very favorable remark to the casting Director also in the room, so I knew the audition had gone really well! That day I felt like I had been dreaming and couldn’t believe that what happened was real! Soon after I received an e mail from the casting director saying we want to see you for the callback ,which was a whole afternoon workshopping scenes from the film with Francis. That special afternoon he talked to us about working with Al Pacino on The Godfather and the importance of being authentic as an actor. His advice is now imprinted inside me. I was cast.. and working with Francis is an Experience that has spoilt me forever . He is not just an icon of our time, he’s also a genuine, authentic, warm, caring human being who’s passion for what he does is beyond inspiring. I felt like I could just be myself and let my light as an actress and person shine to the surface.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Balance is not simple to achieve. It’s too easy to fill your life with long to do lists, submitting yourself for roles, acting classes, self tapes, working out, filming, social media , auditions, meetings etc so sometimes burnout can hit you suddenly, if you’re not taking time to be aware you’re just doing too much. I’m someone who has that tendency to overextend. So I’m learning to prioritize my time better.
I find the “work hard , play hard” term helps me with prioritizing. If I’m going to relax or play, then really relax, no half measures or feeling guilty like “ I shouldn’t be doing this” , and I say “don’t listen to that ‘should’ voice” . We owe it to ourselves to relax and have down time, to nurture ourselves, play. . Understanding that is an integral part of a healthy and successful life and to loving ourselves. During this very challenging time of the Corona virus hitting us, many of us have been forced to stand still and feel this awareness of what’s working in our lives and what’s not and to learn from that, to make a better future for ourselves when life starts to move more fully again. We have been forced to live in the present more than ever and see our true values more clearly, a chance to restructure our lives, be more creative . To see what’s been hiding and needs to be healed. To unite and connect with each other as human beings sharing this planet together. To see that we have the power to help one another as a human race, with no divide or judgement.
I find it really important to take the time to have breaks which can be just going for a walk or hike in nature , working out at the gym, doing yoga or meditating, listening to music, self care. Even ten minutes helps! And then you are more refreshed and clear when you come back to your tasks again.
Time where you switch off from your day to day tasks really helps. Time off to have a coffee with a friend ( hopefully very soon!) watch a movie. It’s important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people, who give you energy rather than deplete it and creating boundaries, for time where you are alone to just be.
Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
For my body, I love to work out or hike at Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park. I love the combination of getting fresh air and working your body. I’m always more energized after working out so that affects both my mind AND body! I find the body and mind are interconnected more than we may consciously know. If I feel stressed, going for a walk, doing a few sun salutations at home or working out really releases the stress or any negativity floating around and I feel clearer , energized and happier after! It’s amazing how it works!
The mind. I think it’s important to be aware of any unresolved thoughts and emotions that can come up. As an actor I’m highly in tune with my feelings and those of others around me, some may call me an empath. Forgiving yourself and others , removing blocks to your progress to receiving abundance in your life is important to moving forward and being at peace with yourself . I like doing visualizations or meditations that help with this. Deepak’s Chopra and Oprah often do free 21 day meditations , that I really recommend. I love listening to Tony Robbins speak, very inspirational.
The heart. I think it comes down to fully loving yourself, no matter what. Which is not always easy. I have found I can be hard on myself sometimes so bringing my awareness to the present really helps. The now. There is so much peace and purity in the now.
Facing and acknowledging your feelings, letting out your emotions by crying, speaking them or writing them help the heart to heal. And acting is perfect for healing ourselves and working through our emotions. Master LA acting teacher Anthony Meindl taught me that. He has been a true inspiration to me.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. “
As I see it, life is what you make it. You make the best of what you have and appreciating what you do have NOW is very important.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mother Stella and my grandfather Michael. My mother’s name means star and she really was one.
My grandfather helped my mother raise me. My father completely abandoned the family when I was just two, which wasn’t easy but my mother gave me the most unconditional love a mother could possibly give. My grandfather taught me that life wasn’t easy but it was what you made of it, that any happiness you have you cherish. That life is too short and you never know what’s around the corner but we have now. . He was someone who had so much adversity at the beginning of his life, all his brothers and sister had tragically died when he was growing up and he was the only one left. He came from a poor family , though rich with love, and appreciated the small things. He rose up and made a great life for himself, worked very hard and was both a wonderful father to his sons and daughter and then again to me and my sister. He was an inspiration to me, his attitude and the love he gave was everything. My mother too always told me “No one can beat anybody who won’t be beaten. Be strong.” And being strong didn’t mean don’t cry, it meant cry but don’t give up, rise up. I soon learnt that a happy and successful life starts in the mind. So when I fell in love with acting and realized I had talent , I tried to overcome a lack of confidence at first, probably stemming from an abandonment wound from my father leaving. My mother and grandfather would always tell me how proud they were of me which meant so much to me. She encouraged me to do acting as she could see I had talent and enjoyed it, although she always encouraged me to work hard at school which I did. She said work hard now ,it will be worth it later. She was a teacher which gave me a big advantage as she would help me with school work. Later when I trained as an actor, she would come to every play I was in. When I decided to make the move to LA I knew it would be hard for her. But as I told her recently,” I am here mum, because I am like you and my grandfather, I am strong and determined and am making my dreams come true.” As she told me again how proud she was , though missing me, I told her “I am proud to have had YOU as my mother! “ In fact, I changed my actress name to De Luca ten years ago, because I am proud to have that name, that’s who I really am, proud to have had such a loving mother and inspirational grandfather. Unfortunately she tragically recently passed away of corona virus which is so hard. The pain of the loss I feel is deep but I’m channeling that into my life. It’s giving me even more strength and determination to continue going for my dream life and being the best person I can be, with empathy and love for others. I want to make my life count any way I can and love to inspire others. I have so much to give as an actress and person, now more than ever. I have a gift and I want to use it. We all have gifts, it a question of whether we recognize them and give them room to breathe.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
That’s an interesting question! I believe everyone has many gifts they can give to the world. So if everyone could use consciously one of their gifts at least once a week I think that would help! A gift could be playing an instrument or creating music , listening to a friend, giving someone advice, teaching a skill, baking a cake for someone, giving your time, writing a heartfelt message. It could even be giving to yourself and focusing on what you are grateful for.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
There are many people I am inspired by. I would love to have lunch with Martin Scorsese. I love his movies and Goodfellas is one of my favorite movies. I’m sure we’d have some great conversations!
How can our readers follow you online?
My Instagram: Francescatheactor
Twitter : Francesca_Film
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!