Volante Placido

by Amanda ROMERO

“I love actresses that change a lot, that search always for something new, and try not to stay caught up in just one kind of character,” said Violante Placido in an interview with British radio The Guardian . The eye-catching Roman-born actress, singer and songwriter has certainly lived up to her own ideal.

The daughter of actor and director Michele Placido and actress Simonetta Stefanelli (who is best known for her role in The Godfather), Violante has followed her parent’s starry tracks.

“When I went on stage for the first time, I felt as if I had met my first love,” she has said.

Her passion is evident in her performing. Having made a splash on the international film scene in 2009 alongside George Clooney in The American, Placido appears in another American movie in February 2012 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, with Nicholas Cage. She is currently in Italy on the set with her father, who is directing the film Il cecchino (The Sniper), scheduled to be released in Spring 2012.

This past year, her performance in Giovanni Veronesi’s Che Ne Sarà di Noi (What Will Become of Us) won her a nomination for Best Actress in Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars, the David di Donatello Awards.

The 35-year-old beauty started her career as a teenager when she appeared in Quattro Bravi Ragazzi (Four Good Guys). Her next appearance was in Jack Frusciante è Uscito dal Gruppo (Jack Frusciante Left the Group). But it wasn’t until in 2002 where she received international recognition for the twisted comedy L’Anima Gemella (Soul Mate).

Despite her lifelong love of acting, prior to being chosen for this role after a series, Placido recalls, she had considered quitting acting. But the gifted actress went on to receive the Wella Prize for the film, which was shared with co-star Valentina Cervi. In 2009, Placido also starred as Kate in the Indian comedy-drama Barah Anna, which was internationally well received as well.

Perhaps Placido reconsidered her career choice because of her passion for singing. “I have never studied music, but I write the music and lyrics of my songs,” says Placido. “The melody comes to me, and I go with it.” In 2006, the modest singer, songwriter and guitarist released her debut album Don’t Be Shy with songs mostly sung in English. “If I’m acting, when I’m on set or in hotels, I’ll always bring my guitar, so I get a chance to write my songs as well. It’s good to alternate for me.”

She is working on a second album, hoping to put a different spin on her work with the help of an artistic producer.

In her best-known international role to date, Placido played the seductive Clara in The American (2010), shot in Pescara (Abruzzo, Italy), a place she calls her second home. Among the thousands of hopeful Italian actresses that lined up for the role, Placido prevailed – she claims it was an improvisation she performed during her audition, when the actress, who had lived in Pescara for a couple months, took a risk and broke out into hard Pescarase dialect, including some off-color idioms.

In an interview, Placido discussed her excitement in receiving the role, as well as working with director Anton Corbijn and American actor George Clooney.

“I loved [Anton’s] background of rock and photography because music is another passion I have,” said Placido. “And then George Clooney as well, who is such a great actor and director. This had huge appeal for me. Once I was chosen, I was very, very happy and I felt very lucky.”

She’s worked with Italian, American, Dutch and Indian actors and directors thus far. Placido is se to become internationally known for her talents – and it seems the world is ready for her.