Italian cop-turned-Hollywood player Victor Alfieri's life would make the basis for quite the compelling character on a daytime soap opera. Maybe that's why he ended up starring in so many when he arrived in La La Land from Rome?
I recently caught up with the multi-soap alum to dish about his recurring role as passionate journalist Victor Cifuentes in TNT's Southland, which will premiere its latest season on Feb. 13. After he provides a sneak peek into what his character will be up to this season on Southland, talk turns to what a full circle moment it was for Alfieri to play a cop in 2009's Angels and Demons, the sequel to Ron Howard and Tom Hanks' monster box office hit The Da Vinci Code.
Alfieri also shares deets about his turn playing a billionaire who goes penniless per his dad's dying wish in the romantic comedy A Secret Promise. Then we chat about the multi-tasking star moving behind-the-scenes to write and direct his own projects. Oh and for any lady hoping to get next to Days of Our Lives' former Franco Kelly — you gotta be down with his dog!
Daytime Confidential: Soap opera fans know you from your turns as sexy, foreign villains on Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, All My Children and Passions. Now you're recurring on the hit cable drama Southland. What would you say is the biggest difference between doing a daytime drama vs. a primetime one?
Victor Alfieri: As an actor I find no difference, simply because I love acting and every time I have a chance to perform, theater, commercials, films or TV, I do exactly the same thing — express myself. I love it and embrace it. If I really have to pick a difference, then it's the time element. In primetime or film, we have more time to work on the material and more takes to nail our performance. In daytime everything moves fast. You have to be that good.
DC: Southland is set to return February 13 on TNT. Can you give us a sneak peek of what's in store for your character, journalist Victor Cifuentes?
VA: Victor is still involved in the Sammy/Tammi storyline. He is still in love with Tammi and taking care of her and the baby. She now lives at his place. That upsets Sammy who still comes around and gives her a hard time. I always liked the show, the way it is filmed. It is very close to reality.
DC: Prior to moving to Hollywood from Rome, you worked as an Italian police officer. Does being on the set of a cop drama feel like a full circle moment for you?
VA: Not so much on Southland, since I play a reporter, but it definitely felt that way when I played a cop in Angels and Demons. I remember the audition process in that movie, four times before I met with Ron Howard. After the meeting he told me, "Well, I guess life is coming full circle for you. Now you are going to play a cop in this movie." I learned a lot from Ron, from the audition process to the actual filming.
DC: You snagged the lead in the rom-com A Secret Promise, playing a billionaire playboy who gives up the glamorous life for one month, in order to fulfill his father's dying wish. What kind of research did you do to get into your character, Ferro Olivetti's, head?
VA: The director Fred Manocherian took a chance. He believed in me and in my accent [Laughs]. I said accent, because the role was written for an American. I remember reading the script, and the scene that really struck me the most was Ferro's father dying. I related to that. I remember when my grandfather died. He was my father figure. Well, Fred made me screen test on that scene, and I nailed it. Otherwise, I could not relate to the fact that Ferro was a billionaire. I am not. But I definitely could relate to Ferro living penniless for a month. I mean I've been there. I moved to LA after I left the police force with one suitcase and $600.
DC: The movie boasts a cast of big names. What was it like working opposite Ione Skye, Ron Silver and Talia Shire?
VA: Fantastic cast, I was so blessed to be working with them. Talia and I became good friends after the movie. I have been very blessed in my career to be able to work with all of these wonderful actors. I mean, a few years back I had the honor to play opposite Helen Mirren, Anne Bancroft, Tom Hanks and Harvey Keitel — a real dream that came true.
DC: In addition to staying in demand as an actor, you've recently started moving behind the camera. What is it like working as a director?
VA: I love to write. I have written a lot of screenplays, and in 2008 I decided to take the risk and start to produce them. This year I just finished a short film starring Brian Krause, a love story. I also completed my very first feature, a thriller I filmed in Rome. The cast and crew were excellent. They were very supportive of me and helped me throughout the process. We are like family now. The two leads, Joel Moody and Clark James Gable, gave fantastic performances bringing my screenplay to life. After the film, we became really good friends. And I really have to thank them, not only as actors, but also as real friends. They gave me the strength to move forward and finish the project. And in this hard business, that's exactly what you need — support and real friends.
DC: The death of your Days of Our Lives character Franco Kelly led to one of the soap opera's most critically-acclaimed storylines, when bad girl Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) was sentenced to die for Franco's murder. Do fans still come up to you and ask about Franco's dirty dealings?
VA: DAYS...what a journey. The cast was really good to me and so were the producers. I had the opportunity to act opposite two major leading ladies in Daytime TV — Kristian Alfonso and Alison Sweeney. Still now, after 15 years, soap fans come up to me and call me Franco! They often ask, 'Why did you want to kill Sami?' And I reply, 'What? No. You got that wrong. All I wanted was a fake marriage. She shot me!" [Laughs]
DC: You tweet a lot about your dog. I guess what they say about a pooch being man's best friend is true in your case?
VA: One-hundred percent. Tarzan was 3-months when I got him. Now he's almost 14 years old. I don't go anywhere without him. He rides on my Harleys and in my sports cars. He even goes on dates with me. If a girl doesn't do well with him...well, we ain't dating! I put up with a lot...but do not touch my dog.
Photos by Jorge Diaz