The Netflix romance series From Scratch introduces viewers to a talented cast member making his U.S. television debut. The show is based on Tembi Locke's From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home (opens in new tab), and follows a Texas-born artist (played by Zoe Saldaña) and a Sicilian chef (Eugenio Mastrandrea) as they fall in love and adjust to major changes, including a move from Italy to the States and a health crisis. As chef Lino, Mastrandrea gives a swoon-worthy performance that brings Locke's real-life husband to the small screen.
Though From Scratch is his American debut, the 28-year-old actor has already booked his next big Hollywood role. Read on to meet the Italian star.
He's a trained theater actor.
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28-year-old Mastrandrea was born in Rome and graduated from the lauded Silvio D’amico National Academy of Dramatic Arts of Rome. In addition to performing in plays directed by luminaries including Robert Wilson (Hamletmachine) and Emma Dante (Le Baccanti), he has starred in the 2012 film A.C.A.B. and the RAI series La Fuggitiva.
Though the actor is fairly private, he does have an Instagram (opens in new tab) with behind-the-scenes pictures from his roles and snaps of his life in Italy. He's also set to appear (opens in new tab) alongside Denzel Washington in the action film The Equalizer 3, which is currently filming in Italy.
He's fluent in three languages.
While the role of Lino required Mastrandrea to speak English, Italian, and Sicilian, in real life the actor is fluent in Italian, English, and Spanish. Saldaña told Tudum (opens in new tab) that she and her onscreen partner ended up bonding over language, as they spoke in Spanish together. "It’s his second language," she told the outlet. "Obviously, Spanish is my first language, and it’s a language that eases my anxiety [and] makes me feel safe at all times. It was like our comfort language."
As for the Sicilian he speaks in the show, Mastrandrea learned from his co-star Paride Benassai, who plays Lino's father. "I owe him a lot because, in this story, the melting of the two sounds, Sicilian and English, is a central part of the story," Mastrandrea said. "And building a character is also building the way the character speaks, because the way the character speaks is the way the character thinks. Paride taught me Sicilian and, in a certain way, he taught me Lino."
He felt an instant connection with the character Lino.
In a Tudum interview, Mastrandrea opened up about reading the From Scratch script for the first time, saying, "I felt a connection when I read the script."
"It’s strange because it’s a sensation. It’s like explaining the sensation of being cold or warm or being hungry. It’s something that you feel in your body," he continued. "I put a lot of myself in the building of the character, brick by brick."
He also shared that he deeply related to Lino's feelings about Los Angeles; before filming, the actor had never been to the U.S. and was surprised by the sprawling city.
"That giant mass of population, buildings, distances, spending two hours in the traffic to go from one place to another — it was a lot to take in," he recalled. "There was a very strange overlap between me and the character. A lot of things that were happening to Eugenio being in a Netflix production in Hollywood [were like], 'Wow. What the fuck is going on here? Let me try and figure this out, OK?' That was kind of happening to Lino, too."
Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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