by Margherita Chiara Immordino Tedesco
30 years after the first popular season of Beautiful in Italy, the success of the actor Clayton Norcross shows no signs of abating. Clayton Norcross divides his time between Hollywood and Europe, working for movies, TV and theatre. His most recent work is “Brutal Angels”, a fiction designed by Clayton and James W. Dean. The TV show is set between United States and Italy and treats the themes of terrorism and life after death, in a very addictive and dynamic that will be even more than a crime fiction as the others produced in Italy.
The main character of the fiction is an FBI Agent called Mike Kryszinski, that moves to Europe after a gunfight that killed him and his wife (Lupe), pregnant with his child. The fiction ends after the first episode? Of course not. Mike and his woman start a near-death experience and they find themselves in a parallel world. Mike is kind of reanimated, while his woman is like stuck in another dimension… We just have to wait and see the rest.
The actor and producer, idol of women in 90’s and even now, on July 15th will be in Matera, “Culture Capital of 2019” for the second time. Last year the american actor visited and discovered The Rocks of Matera”, that also in the past were chosen for big movie production (we already talked about this in the article), searching for the perfect scenary for his movie “The tailor – Il Sarto”.
Margherita Chiara Immordino Tedesco, that will be with the actor in Matera and many other prominent personalities, met him and here’s her interesting and stimulating interview.
Clayton, you are a celebrated actor, famous all over the world, especially in Italy and you are also an author and producer. Can you tell us something about your new script?
Of course, Brutal Angels is a fiction about the sensitive issue of the parallel world. The mail character is a very impulsive American policeman, he is very bossy and nervous, let’s say he is furious. He is upset for the the wounds caused by his father. Because of this, he destroys his world in USA and moves to Italy, where he will learn a lot. He will discover a world that is parallel to our world. He thinks to be the responsible of his girlfriend’s death, Lupe and he is troubled bacause Lupe visits him from another dimensione while he tries to get back on track.
The story is also about terrorism. That international terrorism that never touched Italy, but already affected France, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Belgium and many other country, but Italy seems to be immune. But there is a potential because there are many hot areas in Europe and terrorism must come from outside, but also from inside the country.
The main character is an expert gunslinger and competes for a high office in the Interpol squad. He would like to join the squad to stop terrorism. In the story there is also a character with a strong impact, Lorenzo. This character has an italian mentality. It’s like in “Lethal weapon”, where the character played by Danny Glover and the other played by Mel Gibson, both of them policemen, have a different view of the same world. It’s a very complex story and it is about a culture, spiritual culture, fatherly injures, most of which are put together to give birth to a very gripping story. This is what I want to express, I want to give other vibrations and open people’s mind with something that can be interesting and for an international audience, but it must be made in Italy.
When did your career as author and script writer start?
My career as an actor started in 1978 because I was studying at University in San Diego and I met an American author called Norman Corman (Radio Days), he was a kind of Vittorio Gassman in our culture. He was a teacher in a course in my University. I acted in a scene that I wrote for him and suddenly he came to me and said: “Very interesting, you have a kind soul and your vibrations are interesting, you remind me of Robert Redford”.
This was a big compliment for me, he was a professional and he was comparing me to a famous actor. So I said to myself: “Maybe this is my way, the right path to get into the movie business that normally is closed except for those who know someone inside it”.
This was my inspiration.
I was a young student, I had never been in Hollywood before and when I got there I worked as a model for a while. Then I started to become familiar to work in front of cameras here in Milan, where I worked for Armani, Venturi and Ferragamo. I experienced success here in Italy, here’s why I care so much about Italy. I came here 30 times, for me it’s like a second home. Obviously, the success of Beautiful was important. It started in 1987. I couldn’t imagine it could have such a great impact on audience in thousands of countries, especially here in Italy. When I first came here, I couldn’t walk in the streets because I felt like I was one of the Beatles. I couldn’t sit and have a good pasta because people lost their mind as soon as they saw me. I was like a member of their family and I was a fixed date on television, where I couldn’t see them, but they could see me.
This was the begininng of my career, now I am also a writer and I produce my own works, but everything started like this. I worked in four different continents till now, I have been able to see the world doing what I love.
In your new work you face very strong themes – such as life after death, souls, ascended masters… What kind of relationship do you have with spirituality?
I think I am a very spiritual man and I don’t think that life is only physical, we are spiritual souls in a physical body; non-body with a spirit. To me this is a very important difference so every thought or idea that gets to my mind is related to this reality. This means that when I get up in the morning I pray, I connect with the divine, I welcome my intuition to know what I have to do to clear the confusion. Most of the values that you have, the values of your spiritual life determine what your physical body will do also in what you write or in the message you give through the medias. We have an incredible power.
I take into account the fact that working for television or cinema can change many lives.
I don’t want to seem too proud, but my character, Thorne, reached millions of people, more than what Jesus Christ ever reached and this is only because of TV power. I am not better than Jesus, absolutely not, but I use Jesus’ message, the message of kindness, love, peace and patience in a new vision, with a new technology that enhance his teachings.
What do you think about the interconnection among tv shows, movies and vibrations, when it comes to energy? Why is it so important to give a new message on tv with movies where there are angels or things like that?
I think that there are many artists that have high vibrations. Of course there are many producers, actors, directors that are motivated only by money, but there are many others that are very deep artists, that are moved by heart. A tv production is a big synergy of different artists that are put together to combine feelings. The director has the duty to choose those personalities to create this product called “movie”, this big cooperation, so I think that the director has a very important role. But, as an actor, I have been able to add many different aspects and peculiarities to the character of Thorne that were not on the script. I wanted to add my feelings to be able to express my spirituality or the absence of it. You don’t have only to be an artist, you have to express what in life is really important in order to let people understand even not completely, but on a visual and emotional level.
What is the connection among “new war, terrorism and cybersecurity”? How can you relate the spiritual world with the world of intelligence and national security?
Well, I think that terrorism is only a symbol of the way fear makes us crazy. I think that it is about faith, love, but also fear, hate and violence. Everybody sees how bad is terrorism. Children killed with gas in the streets, lying covered by a wrap in the arms of their mothers and the shock caused by terrorism.
It is not less intense or addictive of the moment when we see someone choosing love and protecting innocence.
This is a very important conflict and what is really leading Mike is the spiritual connection with his father that was killed by FBI and by CIA; he discovers it and in the end his aggressivness explodes because of this, because he thought that was his country but that country took him away the only thing he really loved, that country stole that relationship. He feels that people tell him only lies about his father and fight for this. He knows that his father was a good man, he was not a traitor, he doesn’t believe to what people tell him, but he is alone in this battle. Everybody says: “You’re crazy, your father was a traitor, forget him”, and everything happens while Lupe, tells him during an appearance, that there is another world to explore and it is on the other side of the veil.
The new fiction will be set in the United States, Europe and Italy, what do you love most about Italy?
Many Americans live to work, Italian people, and I understood this long time ago, work to live, it is a very different attitude of living. Italians do not work for the entire month of August to rest, to stay with their families, to enjoy the seaside, the sun. There’s a reason why the Renaissance culture was born here. I love Galileo, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Caravaggio, just to say some of the names. And the cradle of Christianity is here in Vatican. The Catholic Church helped arts, financed arts. Italy, is not only a very beautiful country, is full of beautiful people and Italian people love you and never forget you, this is exactly the opposite of what happens in Hollywood. Here there are feelings. Hollywood is motivated by money. Italians love money, of course, but they are more attracted by feelings of human life. I think there must be a sort of compromise, like in Beautiful. There is way to invent a story that is about feelings and that can express them, that can be also good for a commercial level. This is what Brutal Angels will be about.
You played Thorne in Beautiful, a handsome man, a wonderful man, but always in a struggle with Ridge. The character you played always suffered for a woman that keeps loving Ridge also if she’s in a relationship with Thorne. Who wins between them in your life? Is Thorne the winner?
Well, Thorne is the representation of what is inside every man from a spiritual and loving point of view. He trusts the belief that this is the right way to win his challenge and the woman is only the symbol of abundancy that we keep searching in our life, abundancy that can have different shapes: a career you love, something rewarding to do like find and love the right woman, feeling the joy of living with your children, create a satisfying lifestyle in your job and in the community. He shows his point of view and Ridge shows another point of view, he is the bad guy on the Harley with the tattoos, he is the typical kind of guy difficult to conquer.
I hate that kind of guys, those men are stupid…
You seem to be a very experienced and classy woman, with a consciusness and maturity that many young ladies do not have and it would be good to have. Where can they find your consciusness? Who can teach them? For sure they can learn from TV, internet, movies, tv series or even at school. Education is like religion, it should be fundamental, but as you can see, many of the people I spoke to told me they moved away from the Church and I think this happens because Church is not updated. They have no social media, no movies, nothing like that; while on television there are project like “Brutal Angels” that show the real face of spirituality in a contemporary and gripping world.
What kind of project do you have in your future?
I have three project in Italy. I have been here three months and I will stay till the 15th. One of the project is a classy reality show. It will be adventurous and my partner will be Grace De Agazio, a wedding planner. I already produced Beautiful Wedding with her, we are a “platonic couple”, but we have a big synergy. She lives in Lerici, Liguria and we worked together for two years creating this show that is about beauty and marriage, that takes the audience and the protagonists in the most unexplored places of Italy. The air is so rich in culture and charm in these little towns in Italy. From Tuscany to Apulia, from Piedmont to Latium. For example the city of Bagnoregio is a wonderful place that nobody knows in America.
The show is about love behind the ceremony and sometimes the drama that you can find in the same occasion. The show will follow the couple from their arrival in a foreign country, when they feel like a odd duck till the wedding. We will follow them in everything, doesn’t matter if they have a big or small budget for their wedding.
You recently vidited Matera, that is the 2019 Capital of Culture. What can you tell us about? Do you think you are going to work in this city?
I visited Matera a year ago and I was considering to use it as a location for Beautiful Wedding, because I think that Apulia, just like Basilicata is underestimated for tourism and I think Matera has some potential, also as a possible location for Brutal Angels.
The caves remind me of Palestine, where Mel Gisbon played in the “Passion of Christ”. I think it is a very special place. I am not surprised they picked it as the European Capital of the Culture for this year. I think it has something special to offer. I also have another project for Matera, the Movie Festival and I really hope that we will be able to organize it as better as we can, to give to young artists a stage and choosing among local project of South Italy: Campania, Basilicata, Apulia, Calabria, Sicily. The artistic expression in TV must have goals and motivation, not only money. Obviously money is important to realize projects, but we can give a better message and not the usual message, like in the Big Brother or shows like that. I think we can raise the bar of the knowledge of the entire planet. We can do that.
Can we imagine Matera like a location for a movie?
I think this can be a good idea. I know that James Bond will be in Matera very soon. They are going to play some scenes of the new 007 in Basilicata and they are doing it because of the special mood of the city. It is very romantic. Also near the Ionio Sea there is a good area, Policoro, Altamura.
It would be great to shoot a movie, for example about the history of archaelogists, I have some good ideas about it.
Clayton, what are your plans for the days you’ll spend in Matera?
I’ve been invited by this adorable journalist to visit Matera again, not only to talk about my new project, but also to meet this group of people that is trying to create an uplifting cultural environment, celebrating the city and Italy at the same time. So I can’t wait to visit it and to stay in Saint Angel Castle. Thanks to my celebrity you are giving me a big opportunity and I can’t wait to make the most. I would like the world to be consciuos about how beautiful Matera is.
Do you think Matera can become the new Brera for the cinema?
Why not? There are no acclaimed movie school in the South of Italy and I have a friend that lives in Naples and is a director. His name is Luca Guardabascio, he is a very talented director, he directed many documentaries for RAI. He has a very high artistic integrity, he holds the values of the south of Italy about family and house. He would be a great teacher to prepare young directors.
In Hollywood if you do something in the entertainment field money comes in, otherwise you’re out. I think that artistic integrity is related to the success, but I also think that the “system” needs to be modified or that needs some private funding to motivate young artists to give their best.
What do you think about the planet Earth? How do you imagine it in 10 or 20 years?
Many shocking things are happening, like global warming, proliferation of nuclear weapons that give us power of self-distruction and they are in the hands of crazy countries like Iran, North Korea, that have no control. We have a lot of challenges to face, we have to face world hunger in places like Africa, while here in the west we have the overproduction of food compared to what we consume, but it seems hard to find a way to send all this food where it is necessary. We could talk about so many topics, but we should find a more spiritual approach. I often met a wonderful teacher, his name is Marshall Rosenberg. He is no longer with us, but he left us a very important legacy about nonviolent communication, about the way to communicate with other human beings without provocation, but with understanding, with empathy. There is a spirituality without the religion trap that sometimes can divide muslims from christians, jews from hindu and so on. In my church in USA all the religions are accepted, it’s not the name of your God to be important, the only important thing is to call God.
This is the most important thing to focus on.