The Suspiria director initially turned down the role because he “didn’t feel like being an actor,” but was ultimately won over by Noé’s unique approach.
Dario Argento is one of the most popular horror directors of the 20th century, having pioneered the giallo subgenre with classic films like Suspiria and Deep Red. Argento still directs movies, but the 81-year-old filmmaker has recently tried something new: acting. The Italian director received strong reviews for his starring role as a dementia patient in Gaspar Noé’s Vortex, a film inspired by Noé’s own near-death experience. The film premiered in Cannes last year before hitting American theaters this summer. Argento, whose work is currently enjoying a retrospective at the Film at Lincoln Center in New York, spoke to Vulture about the decision to step in front of the camera and what the role in Noé’s film meant to him.
“I didn’t really shape the character. I tried to play myself,” Argento said. “When Gaspar came to Rome to ask me if I would be in the film, my immediate answer was ‘no’. I didn’t want to be an actor. But he spent the whole day at my house. He wouldn’t go. And then he said the magic word that the entire film would be improvised. just that word improvised, rang.”
Argento added that many of his favorite films used similar processes, which helped him get used to the idea.
“After all, I am a child of Italian neorealism,” he said. “So I’m kind of used to the practice of improvisation. Instead of using professional actors, the neorealists worked with the average man on the street, people who spoke with their own accents and developed their own lyrics. That interested me, so I thought, ‘Yeah, I could do something improvised.’”
The process of improvisation helped Argento create a character whose life resembled his own, making it easier for the first-time actor to immerse himself in the role.
“Even so, this character — he doesn’t have a name in the film — had to be somewhat similar to my own,” he said. “He’s a film critic, just like I was before I became a director. And in film he wrote an essay, a book about the relationship between cinema and dreams. I also wrote an essay on cinema and dreams.”
However, as pleased as he is with the outcome of the film, fans shouldn’t expect Argento to continue starring in other people’s films.
“Even so, I wasn’t interested in being an actor,” he said. “I also don’t feel like what I did was acting – I played myself. What you see in the film is how I tell my story.”
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/06/dario-argento-on-acting-in-vortex-gaspar-noe-1234736656/ Dario Argento on his role in Gaspar Noé’s “Vortex”