Scianel of Gomorrah, criminal, matriarch, or manager: this is how a woman from the South rules

Women, when they take the field, in whatever field they go down, for better or for worse, are even more determined than men, they go straight to the point, paradoxically they are more ferocious

Cristina Donadio

Yet Scianel is extremely realistic and has a power destined to remain imprinted in the imagination of the public, also because she is the only real female Chief

Of course, she is not the wife of, she does not take the field to defend the family business and take the place of her husband who was arrested or killed. Scianel is a boss among bosses by choice and this is something we are not used to, in our imagination. But it is one of the changes that are taking place, in general, in the world and in society, and also in criminal organizations. Now women have this ability to choose and play roles of great power, as in the case of South American drug trafficking. And then, as always, when women take the field, in whatever field they go, for better or for worse, they are even more determined than men, they go straight to the point, paradoxically they are more ferocious. Here Scianel represents this new criminal femininity in Gomorrah.

A strong, powerful femininity, without a male derivation. All of this makes Scianel, somehow, inexorably alone. Is it inevitable to be so, if you are such a strong woman, especially in a criminal context?

I believe that all those who make such a determined, radical, and irreversible choice are condemned to be alone, whether male or female. Of course, for a woman it stranges us more, because we think of her more as a partner, accomplice, mother, and less as a leader. But yes, she is destined to be alone, because one cannot show vulnerability, one cannot have weaknesses, one must be faithful to only one goal, which is that of power. The moment you open a small crack, a small possibility of access to your emotionality, it means that you are doomed. And for this reason Scianel cannot look anyone in the face, no matter what. It takes everything to enhance her power, including her relationship with her son, and in that she represents total horror at what she does and how she does it.

Speaking of Scianel and his interpersonal relationships, his relationship with his daughter-in-law Marinella represents the dichotomy between what seem to be the only possibilities for the woman, in that world: to be the victim (in its innumerable forms) or to be the executioner. The fact is, however, that neither of them seems like a desirable life and one suspects that they are all victims of the overwhelming absence of alternatives. Is it a reasonable suspicion?

Of course, in reality Scianel and Marinella are two sides of the same coin and that is being a woman in this great perverse system of organized crime, which is a condition that has a very high price, whether you do it again, actively, or whether you do it as a victim, undergoing it. I must say that one of the most loved scenes is the one in which Scianel talks to Marinella about what it means to be a woman, and it is significant in the sense you say. In reality that scene is the only one in which she shows a sort of humanity, in which it is as if – between the lines – she said to her “I understand you, I too would have wanted to have a life, to be free, but by dint of carrots they make us learn it”, as if to say that in one way or another you have to submit to the rules of the system.

Also because there are women who, despite the risks they run, at a certain point decide to report but suffer very bitter consequences. It comes to mind Maria Concetta Cacciola (instigated to commit suicide by her own family), Lea Garofalo (whose body was dissolved in acid and never found again), Giuseppina Pesce (who lives under protection with her 3 children)…

Certainly because in the best of cases it means changing identity, leaving, having to protect one’s children, escaping under a system of protection that sometimes works and sometimes not; and in any case it means being forced to change one’s profile, horizons, life, necessarily, because denunciation or in any case rebellion, sometimes even simple doubt, means coming to terms with everything that can happen afterwards, because we know that whoever rebel is punished; lately the news has brought us stories of women who have distanced themselves from organizations, have begun to collaborate with justice and have denounced facts in which they have been supporting actors or even protagonists; they have told even horrendous things that they have done in first person but because they could not escape. Had they been born and raised in other contexts, they probably would have had a choice and their choice would have been different

What would Scianel have become if she had been born in another context?

Well with her intelligence and determination, she could have become a woman manager, an entrepreneur, a positive example

Yet despite her ferocity, Scianel is loved

Yes because, net of the horror, she is a strong character, with an irrepressible femininity and an indispensable independence that allows her not to submit to anyone

And what do the fans tell you? I guess you can’t walk down the street anymore without being stopped, especially in Naples

Many things have changed after Scianel. For women it has become a sort of way of being or state of mind, which doesn’t mean feeling like a racketeer but, for example, one day I went to buy bread and the girl in the bakery recognized me immediately and said : “What an emotion! Yesterday I went to speak with my fiancé, future marine, and before going in I looked at him and said: do you know why they call me Scianel? Because I know a lot about perfumes and you already smell like death” and I asked her “No, but why did you tell him that, poor thing, risking perhaps that he would run away?” and she replied “Because they have to immediately understand who is boss in the family”

In short, you are the female version of other catchphrases that were born from Gomorrah. After all, you too have your own parody, Cotto e Ammazzato with Barbara Foria

Exactly! Who uses the vibrator as a whisk or as a rolling pin. Here, when you realize that there is someone who is making a parody of a character you have played, it means that that character has arrived

I would close with a Marzullian question: how much of Scianel is there in Cristina and how much of Cristina in Scianel?

I could tell you that the only thing they have in common is the depth, the contradictions they have, that we all have, but it would be too simple to tell you this. The truth is that to appropriate such a complex character, I had to go looking for my most hidden demons, because each of us has them, lying somewhere. We who do this job have the opportunity to draw heavily on everything that our soul feeds, for better or for worse. You always need something of your own, but it’s an almost mysterious process, difficult to tell, intimate in a certain sense. An actor finds himself alone with his soul and there he has to open the drawers that need to be opened. This is also the beauty of our job, don’t be afraid. Many other people don’t have the drive to try to understand each other, while for us actors the more you go deeper, the more you go inside, the more you discover things about yourself that you can transform and rework into characters…but you must have the courage. Digging inside yourself is never easy

Very last question, I swear: how emotionally challenging was it to play Scianel?

Sometimes more and sometimes less, but there were some very touching moments, in the sense that maybe you came home at dawn (because Gomorra is almost always filmed at night) and you couldn’t sleep a wink because you had shot ferocious scenes; that is a world of horror, evil hovers, a deadly feeling, the characters themselves never smile; if they laugh, they laugh in mockery; they are always on guard. But the most tiring thing is knowing that you are staging situations that are real, extremely probable; that the thing you are about to do, however abominable, was actually done by someone before you. In the moment in which he turns I am Scianel, and I don’t have a judgment towards myself, in line with Sollima’s style, which is based on the pure narration of the facts; obviously, however, when you return to your reality, you strip off those clothes and feel the weight. But you have to put it aside, because you know that the next day it starts again. Overall it is undoubtedly challenging. I realized it but so did my adventure companions, above all when filming ends and you emerge from the gloomy atmosphere, then the adrenaline fades and you feel a very strong emotional tiredness. But now we’re all charged up, because we’re starting again!

I know, I know, I’m not asking because I know you can’t comment on Season 3…

Exactly, I can only tell you that there will be some good ones!

Scianel of Gomorrah, criminal, matriarch, or manager: this is how a woman from the South rules –