Growing Up Onscreen With ‘My Brilliant Friend’

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GIRACE I’m very empathetic, so I create a very strong bond with the characters, but I don’t let myself be overwhelmed by them. Slowly, with a deep study of Lila, I started to understand her, and I tried to do justice to this character, to make her complete, with her strengths, but also her fragility

This third season covers a long time period, and Lenù and Lila have children by the end. By the end, the characters are much older than you are now.

GIRACE I first encountered Lila at 13, and played her at 14 and 15, so it felt that, because I had been living with her, it was easy to understand and know her as an older woman of 25 or 30. And Lila has always been mature for her age, so for me it wasn’t particularly difficult for me to identify with an older woman.

MAZZUCCO When I did the scene in which I give birth I asked my mom a lot of questions — like, “How do you hold a baby?” — and watched videos of women giving birth. But for the rest, it was fine, once they helped me with makeup, and the hair and clothes. That helped a lot.

Were any parts of this season especially difficult to film?

MAZZUCCO When I had to be a mother, especially at the beginning, when the children were really small and they’d start crying and I didn’t know what to do — especially because their real mothers were nearby. But slowly I got more comfortable with it.

GIRACE It was somewhat hard to be Lila when she was so sick, because, as a young girl full of energy, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to play a very tired, destroyed, woman. It was hard to portray that fragility without seeming fake.

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