– It is really difficult to accept that Francesco Sparanero (a name, a guarantee) celebrates his 80th birthday when, upon meeting him, he looks like a drop of water to the forty-year-old Franco Nero whom the whole world knows. Born on the outskirts of Parma on November 23, 1941, he is the son of a carabiniere and the paternal imprint can be seen in some parts of his biography: he is faithful to his convictions, he is generous and tied to those who love him, he is stubborn and stubborn, resolute and brusque , but loyal and passionate. With an accountant diploma in his pocket he enrolled at the university but soon let himself be carried away by the passion of acting and took his first steps on the stage of the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. his fascination with cinema quickly brought him to Rome where he seemed to everyone to be an American, with ice-blue eyes, sculpted features, a resolute jaw and an athletic physique. John Huston notes this, who has set the curtains in Cinecittà for a colossal “Bible” produced by Dino De Laurentiis and entrusts him with the role of Abel, the good. Sergio Corbucci sees him challenge Sergio Leone on the Spaghetti Western terrain and calls him to impersonate Django, the merciless gunslinger who makes the film of the same name a cult myth and a period scandal for explicit violence. It is 1966, a fairy year for the actor who in a few months becomes an international star and a sex symbol in demand on every set: 8 in just one year and the same number the following year. In truth, 1966 does not coincide with the film debut of Franco Nero who had made his first appearance in ’62 with Pelle viva by Giuseppe Fina and then cut his teeth with small parts between auteur films (Carlo Lizzani and Antonio Pietrangeli) and unpretentious works with Antonio Margheriti, Franco Prosperi, Mino Guerrini.
The myth of Django, however, is different: like Clint Eastwood with the nameless gunslinger or Sean Connery with James Bond, Franco Nero will also have to deal with it all his life, on the one hand distancing himself to demonstrate his qualities as an actor and on the other hand by feeding its memory.
Nero does not seem to suffer in the slightest today from this passage of his career and has gratefully accepted the homage of Quentin Tarantino who wanted him on the set of his Django Unchained in 2012. On the other hand, an actor who has more than 150 films and a hundred television appearances behind him certainly does not feel a prisoner of a single cliché. In the 60s he consolidated his prestige in the western thanks to Fulci, Baldi, Corbucci, disguises himself as Paladin at the court of King Arthur in Joshua Logan’s Camelot where he meets Vanessa Redgrave, the woman of his life, who plays Queen Geneva and cannot than to make the handsome Lancelot from Italy lose his head. But in the meantime Franco Nero is also confirmed as an actor of great sensitivity in Italy thanks to Elio Petri (A quiet place in the countryside), Tinto Brass (The holiday) and above all Damiano Damiani who with Il Giorno della Civetta inaugurates a true genre of civil cinema and makes his actor win the David di Donatello.
Now a recognized protagonist, Nero experienced in the 70s a success that seems unstoppable and lays the foundations for a career that will never have interruptions. Luís Buñuel calls him for Tristana, the Tsar of Russian cinema wants him, Bondarchuck for The Ten Days That Shook the World, meets Fassbinder for the scandalous and beautiful Querelle. In Italy he has his greatest admirers in the authors of civil cinema (Damiani, Vancini, Lizzani, Bellocchio); but his friendship with great artisans such as Enzo G.Castellari leads him to never betray his popular roots and to return to the paths of the western (Keoma) or adventure (The shark hunter).
In the 80s Franco Nero chooses more often the television that will bring him a second youth (from The Roses of Danzica to Il Generale “, to The Betrothed) but also on the big screen he has the opportunity to express his rebellious character by choosing to work often with an outsider like Pasquale Squitieri, reinventing himself for Franco Zeffirelli (The young Toscanini) and supporting the younger ones (the newcomer Beppe Cino with Diceria dell’untore). And the same will happen in the following decade when he accompanies his son Gabriel in his first steps as director (L’Escluso) or the young Pappi Corsicato in Chimera. Between the 90s and just yesterday we find him in the most diverse situations: he also makes his debut as a director (Forever Blues), supports the experimental tests of Luigi Bianconi (aka Louis Nero ), gives cameos in the most varied directions (including the Law and Order series), lends his relentless gaze to the elderly St. Augustine (TV series), appears in John Wick and offers a role to Kevin Spacey ro I am ostracizing my colleague in the still unpublished The Man Who Drew God.
His private life is in turn a curious cocktail of hurricanes and serenity: he had three children by three different women, he virtually married the same one twice (Vanessa Redgrave, loved and left in the late 1960s, always present in life artistic by Franco and then married for real and in great secret in 2006). He lives in a beautiful and green estate near the beloved Velletri or in London with his wife; he does not set limits and goals, if not fidelity to himself, to his values, to his friends. Also for this reason, beyond the actor’s screen, the public has always appreciated the man.
Source From: Ansa