Before you turn on Netflix's heartfelt drama From Scratch, make sure you grab a LOT of tissues. Based on Tembi Locke's From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home (opens in new tab), the show follows an artist named Amy Wheeler (Zoe Saldaña) as she falls in love with a Sicilian chef (Eugenio Mastrandrea) and they build a life together that transcends cultures, languages, and life's biggest challenges. The show has quickly become beloved for its depictions of romantic, familial, and parental love, and it will make you cry tears of joy and tears of heartbreak in equal measure.
Though many Marvel fans are familiar with Saldaña, she's a revelation in this series, where she acts alongside a cast of stellar Black and Italian actors. Before you fall in love with the characters (or if you already have), time to meet the cast of From Scratch.
Zoe Saldaña as Amahle "Amy" Wheeler
Amy, who is based on the memoir's author Locke, is a loving daughter and sister who was raised in Houston, Texas. When the series starts, the law student takes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study art in Florence, where she meets Lino.
Saldaña is best known for her work in sci-fi franchises including Marvel's The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, the Avatar franchise, and the recent Star Trek film series. She also starred in the films Center Stage, Crossroads, Colombiana, and The Adam Project. Fun fact: She's also married (opens in new tab) to an Italian man, artist Marco Perego Saldana, in real life.
Chef Lino is the son of a family of Sicilian farmers, who strayed from the family business to work as a professional chef. He falls for Amy the minute he meets her in the streets of Florence, and decides to move to the U.S. to be with her.
Mastrandrea was born in Rome and is a native speaker of Italian and Spanish. The theater actor graduated from the lauded Silvio D’amico National Academy of Dramatic Art of Rome, and in addition to plays, he's starred in the 2012 film A.C.A.B. and the Italian series La Fuggitiva. (If you want to keep up with him, his Instagram is @eugeniomastrandrea (opens in new tab).)
Danielle Deadwyler as Zora Wheeler
Amy's older sister Zora is a schoolteacher who lets Amy and Lino stay with her when they move to Los Angeles. She's always Amy's supportive rock, who supports her artistic dreams when the rest of her family struggles to understand, and she also builds a wonderful life for herself.
Atlanta native Deadwyler is in the middle of a breakout year, earning praise for her performance as Mamie Till-Mobley in the film Till. The actor and performance artist also recently starred in the HBO Max miniseries Station Eleven and the Netflix Western The Harder They Fall. She previously appeared in the series P-Valley, Watchmen, and Paradise Lost.
Keith David as Herschel Wheeler
Amy and Zora's father Herschel is a proud Texas cowboy, who wants Amy to follow in his footsteps with a stable law career. Though he doesn't understand her decision to pursue an art career, he can't deny her and Lino's happiness and comes to see Lino as a son.
David is an Emmy winner and Tony Award-nominated actor who has worked in film, TV, and theater since the '80s. You likely saw him recently as Otis Haywood Sr. in Jordan Peele's Nope, but he's also starred in films including The Thing, Armageddon, There’s Something About Mary, Requiem for a Dream, and Barbershop, as well as series including Community, Greenleaf, ER, and 7th Heaven and Belle’s.
Kellita Smith as Lynn Wheeler
Amy and Zora's mother Lynn is devoted to her daughters, though they don't always agree with her New Age parenting style. She's unafraid to speak her mind, and she's a devout vegan who brings her own food to restaurant openings and Thanksgiving dinners.
Chicago native Smith made her TV debut in an episode of In Living Color, and appeared in several beloved Black sitcoms including Martin, Sister, Sister, Living Single, Moesha, and The Jamie Foxx Show. She's best known for playing Wanda McCullough on The Bernie Mac Show, and her recent projects have included In the Cut, Z Nation, The First Family and This Is Us.
Judith Scott as Maxine Wheeler
Amy and Zora's stepmother Maxine has been married to Herschel since he and Lynn divorced when they were young. She deftly balances the Wheeler family’s complicated dynamics, and serves as the voice of reason when Herschel's stubbornness gets in the way of him seeing what makes Amy happy.
North Carolina native Wheeler has appeared in films including The Santa Clause and Guess Who (where she acted alongside Saldaña), Bad Hair, and The Little Things, as well as shows like Dexter, Snowfall, All American, and Dear White People.
Lucia Sardo as Filomena Ortolano
Lino's mother Filomena keeps with the traditions of her small, tight-knit Sicilian community and reluctantly follows her husband's wishes. However, she eventually comes to understand Amy, with the women connecting over their love of Lino.
Sardo was born in Francofonte, Sicily, and has been nominated for Italian film critics' awards for her roles in One Hundred Steps and Alone with Her Dreams. She has also appeared in the series Romanzo siciliano, L’onore e il rispetto and Callas e Onassis, as well as the films Malena, Aclà, and The Whores.
Paride Benassai as Giacomo Ortolano
Lino's father Giacomo is a proud Sicilian farmer who is disappointed with his son for not taking over the family business. When Lino marries a foreigner, his stubborn father shuns him, until Giacomo's stubbornness finally wanes in the face of tragedy.
Benassai was born in Palmero, Sicily, and has worked as a theater actor since 1976. The director, playwright, and actor served as the artistic director of the Piccolo Teatro Palermo from 1983 to 1988, and has appeared in films including Ore diciotto in punto and Barrìa, as well as TV shows including the Detective Montalbano and The Young Montalbano series.
Isla Colbert as Idalia
Also appearing as a supporting star is Colbert, a child actress and model who previously acted on the Shonda Rhimes-produced series Station 19 and in the film Motorvacation. She's also shared adorable behind-the-scenes pics from filming on her Instagram (opens in new tab) (which is managed by her mom).
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