ORGod, New Years is coming, what do I do? Party with usual friends and built-in boredom, restaurant and evening with your legs under the table, or – for the more adventurous – solitary escape in the woods and mobile phone disconnected? Edoardo Leo, 50 years old, Roman born on April 21st like his beloved city, he solved it like this: on December 31st he will work, he will be in the theater. But the theme of holy days, the cross and delight of all of us, is close to his heart. And, together with his lifelong friend Massimiliano Bruno, dedicated a film to him The best dayswhich will hit theaters on January 1st. They managed it in parallel, each with his own team, at the same time “like in the eighties and nineties,” he says. Two episodes each, for four anniversaries: Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, March 8th. A second film will be released to follow, on 4 other holidays.

    Edoardo Leo, 50 years old, Roman. On January 1, The Best Days, the film he directed with Massimiliano Bruno, will be in theaters.

    In the first episode you and Massimiliano are the two brothers – one pro vax and one no vax – who meet at the house of their sister, the deputy played by Anna Foglietta, for dinner on Christmas Eve. An evening destined to end badly. Which side is he on?
    The point is not to be for or against. The idea was to start from current events to stage a clash between brothers, which degenerates into an epic quarrel. At Christmas it happens; a pretext is enough for old grievances to re-emerge.

    But how, aren’t we all better off under the tree?
    For nothing. No one is good anymore, after all we party especially for children. Maybe for some families it’s an opportunity to get together, but there’s often a fictitious kindness. With this film we wanted to bring out the hypocrisy of the holidays.

    Which of the four stories are you most allergic to?
    New Year’s Eve, a tragedy. I didn’t even love him as a kid. I found myself in front of the mirror at five in the morning saying to myself: I wasn’t amused at all. And so this year I will work, I will go on the stage of the Auditorium of the Parco della Musica, in Rome, with the my show I’ll tell you a story.

    He’s been performing it for six years, and it’s always sold out. What does this success depend on?
    It is constantly renewed, it is a container of stories that I update. People come back time and time again because it’s always different. This storytelling breaks down the distance between the stage and the hall, the audience participates. Theater is done together.

    You do a lot of theatre, between one film and another. How do you manage to reconcile all commitments?
    I can’t do without the theater. In this period I’m shooting a TV series, yet this afternoon as soon as I finished I got on the train to Genoa, where I’ll soon be on stage. Tomorrow morning I will take the plane to Rome in order to arrive in time for the start of filming.

    Have you toured all over Italy?
    Only in this period did I stop in Milan and Genoa, as well as Rome. For six years I toured the provinces, where I discovered wonderful theatres. In the province there is less offer and it seemed right to me to bring the show, it was a way to return the affection and success I had.

    Edoardo Leo and Anna Foglietta in the Christmas Eve episode of the film The Best Days.

    She often points out that before becoming a well-known face she worked hard. How long did it last?
    This year I celebrate my 28th year of apprenticeship, next year it will be the 29th. I say this because I never want to forget that I struggled, that I went through challenging times. But I bless the effort I made every day, because it taught me to face the job with discipline, to overcome failures and start over.

    Edoardo Leo: «I always move the bar further»

    When did he realize he had made it?
    To do what? I push the line all the time: first it was starring in a film, then directing a film, then working with a certain director. I always move the bar further.

    Where is the bar now?
    I would like to direct in an international production. I would like to produce. I missed the long TV series, I’m getting there now. In general, I’m not looking at my toes. I look forward. This is a journey that I take to get to know myself, there wasn’t a starting moment and I don’t see a point of arrival. I’m an entertainment worker, the public is my reference and I try to respect it with products that are worth seeing.

    He won’t be able to deny that today you are famous. What does it mean?
    I consider it a privilege, even if I’ve sweated it out. The only advantage is that today I can choose. But it is an advantage that one must be able to exploit, because responsibility is needed. I communicate with my work as an artist, with my films, my shows.

    Women also like it. At the theater the loudest applause is theirs.
    I’m glad, but I think it’s the contents that are successful. If the same “wrapper” played bad films, perhaps he would not like it. I’m sure that the liking is linked to how I present myself, to what I present. In the theater I talk about poetry and literature, about Gabriel García Márquez and Italo Calvino.

    He has a degree in Literature, knows literature.
    I graduated in Sociology of Literature with a thesis on What an ugly mess in via Merulanaby Carlo Emilio Gadda.

    Difficult text.
    I could teach in a high school, as I dreamed of doing when I was young. I thought that a degree with honors would free me from the image of a Roman bad boy who always plays football. You have starred in comedies, such as the saga of I stop when I wantand drama films such as The Goddess Fortune.

    What comes easier for you?
    Nothing is easy. Comedy is the mirror of the country, it tries to represent reality beyond laughter, as the great masters did. I don’t think distinctions should be made. My movie Break up one day in Rome it is not only the representation of the end of a love but the situation of a couple after the Covid. In the stories I interpret, like Perfect strangers, or that I direct, there is always a reference to current events.

    His plan A was to become a footballer. The B teach. She won plan C, acting and directing. Balance?
    I’d say it went great. Directing is a bit like teaching, and even in my show there are many blackboards, many literary quotations.

    What does he do in his spare time?
    When I work I feel like I’m on vacation. In the past, when things didn’t go well, I had way too much free time on my hands. Now reading, writing and researching movies is fun. Sure, I play football, I read a lot. But I have to make up for so much time spent doing nothing.

    He turned 50. How did she take it?
    Bad. Indeed, very badly. That day I pretended to forget about it but I’m not one for parties. Much less to celebrate a fiftieth.