Maurizio Lombardi

Maurizio Lombardi oozes charm. From the moment he walks on screen in Steven Zaillian’s Ripley he commands a presence, a force that makes you think immediately of old Hollywood detectives.

He’s well put together, astute, and blunt with that perfect no-nonsense attitude. The epitome of an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, and we, for the first time since meeting Tom Ripley [played by Andrew Scott], see him pleasantly thrown for a loop. A gritty detective with a suave Italian flare, Inspector Pietro Ravini puts Tom Ripley through his paces, challenging our ‘protagonist’ at every turn and making him sweat bullets. Under Lombardi’s sharp tutelage, Ravini comes to life, giving us a performance we won’t soon forget. The foil to any villain, the Inspector makes for a compelling character; we watch a classic game of chess between the two unfold, making us, the audience, wonder just how long Tom Ripley will be able to stay one move ahead.

Ripley will soon change the narrative around film noir. While the genre isn’t completely dead in the water, the series will shine a well-deserved light back on it and Maurizio couldn’t be more thrilled at the prospect. The black-and-white cinematography, the stylized shots, the intricacy of the plot, there’s nothing quite like this on television right now; it has the advantage of being something new and thrilling, a classic crime drama with the touch of a modern twist. A call back to a time long past that deserves another shot at the limelight.

Maurizio himself talks about the series with passion. Quite the opposite of his stoic on-screen counterpart, Lombardi enthusiastically awaits my thoughts on the series as we begin our conversation. When I tell him that I blew through the episodes in less than two days, his face lights up. I then proceeded to inform him that Netflix only gave me up until episode six and that I had to wait for episodes seven and eight to air to find out what happened. His smile grows even larger at the confession, and I can’t help but think that the last two episodes of Ripley are going to be a ride.

In conversation with 1883 Magazine, Maurizio Lombardi talks about finding himself in Ravini, what his thoughts were about the script, where he pulled his inspiration from, what he’s most looking forward to about Ripley finally airing and so much more!

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So, just to start us off, what were your first thoughts when you read through the script for Ripley?

Absolutely. Steve Zaillian is first and foremost an author. It was such a deep script. Now we finally have a new film noir, a new noir in this era. Do you remember The Night Of with John Turturro? We have the same deep writing because Steve Zaillian is an author first and a director second. So, for me as an actor, it was really important to have in my brain the lines and the sole purpose of my character clear. And, I love seeing the magic line in a script, ‘Once Upon a Time’, I have the perfect ‘Once Upon a Time’ in this script. In my case, the Inspector finds the corpse, and that’s the start of my adventure.

Netflix only gave me up until episode six. I didn’t have seven and eight to watch. So, when the Inspector came on screen, I was finally like, ‘Oh my god, Tom is going to be thrown off of his game!’ You did such a great job.




Where did you pull inspiration from for Inspector Ravini?

We have the classic Italian man. When I went to my first test, I read the script and the scene. And the casting director said to me, ‘Maurizio, he’s funny.’ So, I read the script and I thought, ‘No, this is a man’s man.’ We are in black and white cinematography, I’m elegant and classy, so I looked up a lot of pictures of old men in Italy. Men from Milan in Northern Italy in bars, having martinis, I searched and found a very, very old picture about the private life of men in early 50s Milan. So, I found the character, the feel, the parfum in this man. Obviously, I read the first novel about the great author of Noir in America and watched Chinatown with the great actor — I can’t remember his name.

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Jack Nicholson?


My favorite scenes with the Inspector were the ones with Tom because every time he comes to the apartment, he throws Ripley off his game! It feels like a psychological chess match between the two of them. Can you talk to me about how you prepared for those scenes?

You’re right. Steve [Zaillian] is a great player of chess. He even made a movie about chess called Searching for Bobby Fischer. I know Andrew [Scott]. Andrew is a great player, a great actor in the West End of London. So, when I entered the apartment, I found that it was very theatrical. It felt like two men on the stage. I felt the rhythm. I felt the music between the lines. English is not my first language, my language is Italian, so playing with the English language for me was just a little bit hard. In front of me, I have a wonderful English actor, so I try to compose myself and this scene like a music session.

And I think it works because you played off each other so beautifully. Those scenes were fantastic.

Thank you so much, Dana. Your feedback is important, especially as a journalist.

Thank you for saying so, Maurizio! Moving forward, how would you describe Ravini to someone who is about to watch the show in your own words?

Ravini is a solitary man. And he’s obsessed with his work. He’s very curious and obsessed with the truth. He isn’t interested in the killer so much as he’s interested in the truth. He’s searching for the truth, the humanity. The truth is very hard to find. And Tom in particular is not the truth at all. So, Ravini’s question is: who do I have in front of me? He’s not a typical man, he has no humanity. And Ravini needs the truth in his life.

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What do you think he makes of Tom? Of course, he’s meeting Tom as Dickie Greenleaf, but the Inspector doesn’t know that yet.

From the first line, from the first word, Ravini is like, ‘Come on, are you kidding me? I know you’re hiding something, and I’m going to catch you.’ [laughter] But Ravini has no proof. Come on, Dana, it’s so obvious, he answered all the Inspector’s questions. He had an answer for everything! So, I thought, ‘Come on, it’s not impossible to catch him!’ Are you kidding me?

Honestly, what kills me about Tom is the fact that he’s so sloppy! I don’t know how he hasn’t been caught yet because he is the definition of hiding in plain sight!

I have the truth in front of me and I can’t catch it [laughs]!

Literally! The ashtray is right there! What is a quality you share with Ravini? Was it easy for you to find a common thread between you and him?

Steve and I had a conversation, he said, ‘Maurizio, you are an elegant man. You are charming. You fit suits in a great way. I want to take your elegance, your vanity, and put it in Ravini.’ Because I thought originally, in the script, an old inspector. Not like a divo. So, Steve said, ‘Okay, put this elegance, put this vanity into Ravini.’ For me, it was very good because I was able to see myself in him.

He’s the perfect foil for Tom. And I just can’t wait to see more of him when the show premiers! That’s what I’m most excited about.

Ravini’s elegance and vanity might be his undoing. He might miss something vital and not be able to catch Tom.

Oh, no!

Like a divo in front of a mirror, too distracted by his own vanity, for this reason he may not be able to catch Tom. Too distracted showing off.

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Are you serious?

Maybe, maybe! I don’t know [laughs].

We’ll just have to wait and see how it works out! What are you most looking forward to seeing once the show airs? Not just as an actor but as a fan?

First, the black and white and noir being the prime theme. And I love Patricia Highsmith as a writer; she is a genius. Tom Ripley is not just a killer; Tom Ripley has a little humanity. Not all humanity is absolutely clear and good. We discover a darker side of humanity. It’s amazing. We see it from all sides. It is complex and not so straightforward. And for the first time, I can see this novel translated into a series, not a movie. And it goes so much deeper into those ideas of humanity.

It’s very rare to see film noirs done anymore. And I think Ripley is going to set a whole new trend. We’re probably going to see a resurgence in this style because of this series. And lastly, Maurizio, what’s next for you?

Actually, I’m on stage with my show right now! The title is ‘I Have Seen: A Visual Cause’.It’s about Artificial Intelligence in a comedic way, but not all in a comedic way. I talk about robots; I talk about electric cigarettes. I talk about all these things in society. And the question is, in my show, ‘Okay, we are being assisted in all aspects of our lives. So, humanity, where are we going?’

And next for me as an actor? I hope I get to play in a great movie. I love series, but I want a great movie. I miss film a lot. I learned a lot about film. I watched a lot of great films from the 70s with Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, Meryl Steep, Gena Rowlands, and so many great actors. I hope to play in a great movie with a great script. That is my next goal.

Ripley is now streaming on NETFLIX!

Interview Dana Reboe
Photography Attilio Cusani
Styling Rebecca Baglini
Grooming Anna Maria Negri at Julian Watson Agency
Casting Angeliki Sofronas
Styling Assistants Alberto Sardella & Maria Meinero

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