What better start to an acting career than in the Netflix series Astrological Guide For Broken Hearts? Lucrezia Bertini (Agency: Promoter Artist) can only be proud and happy of the great work she has done to play Cristina, a character who seems like an antagonist but who in reality, if you look into her eyes, generates great empathy as we can see in particular in Season 2.
We at Survived The Shows had the pleasure of interviewing Lucrezia Bertini, who plays Cristina in the Netflix rom-com series Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts, and discuss with her the series, the development of her character on screen and behind the scenes and her experience on set.
Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts is a project that didn’t need to be found, or accepted, despite the fact that it and Lucrezia Bertini met halfway, in a second round of auditions. But the originality of this romantic comedy, perhaps one of the few Italian ones on Netflix, made it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The series presents a message of female solidarity that is not so obvious nowadays, and this, according to Lucrezia Bertini, is the real strength of Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts: the fact that there is no real competition between women, or rather that, although it is normal for there to be competition, in the end conflicts because of men are really “something that can be overcome”, and female unity and solidarity is the most important thing.
In the first season above all, given the marginality of Cristina’s character, Lucrezia owes everything to the artistic direction of Bindu De Stoppani, director of the series.
Approaching the character was not as easy as we think, Lucrezia says, given the great work on the body she had to do together with directors Bindu De Stoppani and Michela Andreozzi to recreate the image of the pregnant woman in her movements and attitudes. But that’s not all.
In the first season in particular, the key, says Lucrezia Bertini, on which she worked with director Bindu De Stoppani and also Michela Andreozzi to best represent Cristina’s world despite the few jokes and the marginal presence of the character was the fact that Cristina was an antagonist, a woman who was unlikeable, but at the same time empathetic.
“There had to be goodness in the eyes and I worked a lot on that. The eyes, even when talking to Alice and there are clashes. But there is always a search for wanting to somehow create a contact with her in spite of the disagreements that can arise between woman and woman, and the ex-boyfriend, and all these clichéd dynamics that automatically arise with relational situations of this type. But yes, this is what we worked on the most: a co-protagonist who is presented as an antagonist, but who doesn’t turn out to be so unpleasant.
Overall, Bertini describes the experience of playing Cristina in Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts as marvellous. And as for the ending, it could only go like this!
My character’s narrative arc is also a bit marginal at first, always because it is seen from the point of view of the protagonist, and consequently the relationship with Carlo (Alberto Paradossi) is not very intimate. […] So this character of mine is initially seen more as an antagonist. Then it develops and is seen more as empathetic towards Alice herself. Cristina always tries to create a contact, a friendship with Alice. Both because she wants to understand what kind of relationship she has with Carlo, as his ex-girlfriend, and because she has a great respect for this person.Lucrezia Bertini
The relationship between Carlo and Cristina in the final episode remains completely unresolved, “so much so that she will tell him to piss off for most of the sixth episode”. So we don’t really know if she’s going to forgive him or not… but what we do know is that the whole experience has brought Alice and Cristina closer together, solving one of the loose ends we’ve been carrying around since the first episode.
The labour scene in the car was funny, but Lucrezia was also very scared.
The great thing about tackling such a rich project when you’re still at the beginning of your acting career is that you can let your emotions run wild, and this is what happened to Lucrezia Bertini. Especially when she shot one of the most hilarious scenes on season 2, the labour scene in the car.
“It was a lot of fun to shoot. Claudia and I – there are even backstage photos where she and I are laughing all the time, we can’t stop laughing. It was a scene where I was really scared at the beginning, before we shot it. But then at the end it was the scene where I felt the most free, where maybe I gave more of myself and it all went very smoothly. Which is something I didn’t expect.”Lucrezia Bertini on playing Cristina’s labour scene in the car
Lucrezia sees a lot of herself in Cristina’s so-called ‘smiles and fears’.
After reading a message received from a fan of the series, Lucrezia Bertini says she has found the perfect description of Cristina, but also a bit of herself. “Cristina is smiles and fears,” this fan wrote to her, and the actress sees herself hiding her weaknesses and fears behind a smile. When she is uncomfortable, or afraid of something, she uses her smile as a barrier, to play down the insecurities and fears she has.
“Cristina is like that. At the beginning, especially in the first season, she smiles a lot. She smiles at Alice when she talks to her and says ‘Yes, I know my boyfriend has been to your house’. But the internal thought is ‘I’m afraid my boyfriend is cheating on me. I need to understand who Carlo is cheating on me with, is it you or someone else?’ and she shields herself behind this apparent smile which is a way of masking this fear.”Lucrezia Bertini on what sees of herself in Cristina
Which character on Astrological Guide For Broken Hearts does Lucrezia Bertini feel closest to?
“Cristina is very close to me,” the actress explains. Perhaps because she has interiorised her and put little details of her own into the character.
Another character in whom Lucrezia sees herself is Alice Bassi, in those moments of awkwardness as in the wonderful woman she is.
But Marlyn is also very funny, as is Carlo… in short, she wouldn’t know how to choose in the end.
Lucrezia Bertini, like her co-stars, emphasises that the environment on the set of Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts was like a big family.
Both with the cast and with the members of the production team, Lucrezia says she had an indelible bond. In particular, because they were all living together in a residence in Turin during filming, there were so many moments of sharing. As the actress says, “it was a bit like being on a school trip”.
The one with whom she has bonded the most and with whom she has created a bit of magic on set is Claudia Gusmano, who plays Alice. The two maintained a great relationship and who she cares about a lot even outside the TV series. Since the first season, the two have shared very intense but also funny scenes in the second season.
Unfortunately, with regard to building Cristina and Carlo’s relationship with Alberto Paradossi, the actress does not have much to say. Especially given the marginal nature of the relationship and the few moments of intimacy shown to us in the series. In all this, however, she cannot fail to express the deep human and professional esteem Lucrezia feels for Alberto.
In addition to her colleagues, some of the most lasting relationships that the set of Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts has given her are with members of the production team, with whom she still hangs out.
“We were a beautiful family for a time .”Lucrezia Bertini on the environment on set
Funny anecdotes from the set? Lucrezia toasted her hand during the filming of Cristina’s labour scene!
Apart from all the ones she has been told by her co-stars, in which sudden laughter broke out during filming, Lucrezia Bertini tells us an anecdote that she doesn’t know whether to call funny or disturbing. However, she enjoyed a lot and will remember for a long time.
We rehearsed the labour scene in the car before shooting it with Claudia. I had been there since midday and it was a July day, so the sun was beating down quite hard, with an old car… – and I had to hold on to the jamb outside the car window and vent all the pain of labour on this jamb. I did it in rehearsal with the stuntmen driving the car all crazy, wonderful and I kept clutching [the jamb].
Then I shot it with Claudia, the jokes, the stuff, eh…. After five hours, I look at my hand and besides the dirt from the car, I had all these blisters, because I had burnt myself. The machine was so hot that I had burnt all my fingers, and it stayed there for three or four days. […] Because we were very much into the scene from the beginning that we started shooting it…Lucrezia Bertini
Taking a step back into the past, to the origins of her passion for acting, Lucrezia tells how it was a passion she had from a young age but which she never thought of as a job
Coming from a fairly conservative family, with steady jobs, Lucrezia found herself doing a bit of the canonical training that we are all used to doing, namely university and then the world of work, but she never really felt at home. And this is where her passion came into play: although she has been a child since she was a little girl, she tells us, who used to put on shows for her parents on evenings with her friends or something similar, she has never seen acting as a real job.
She always saw it as something far removed from reality, until, after changing jobs, she approached the world of acting at the age of 25. You could say it was almost by chance, but it was not. Lucrezia has researched a lot, overcome many slammed doors and rejections, to become an actress. In this, she has only to thank her agency Promoter Artist and her agent Luca Rubenni who believed in her.
I am just at the beginning of my journey and I am trying as hard as possible to do well. Now I’m also going to start studying seriously. Now that I have the opportunity to live in Rome, since I was in Milan before, and invest in this job that I really like. Because it’s a job, the good thing is also that it’s a passion. But it’s first of all a job and must be learned, followed and cultivated 100%.Lucrezia Bertini on the origin of her passion for acting
What advice would Lucrezia Bertini give to those who want to pursue a career as an actor?
Although she doesn’t really feel in a position to give advice in this respect, given that her career has only just begun, Lucrezia stresses that curiosity is something to focus on and is helping her a lot.
“Since I was a little girl I was very curious, and I used to go to my dad and ask him ‘what is this, why that’ and my dad would always give me the answer even if he didn’t really know if it was the right or wrong answer, but he would give me the answer and in that, curiosity definitely helped me to live this job, to document myself.”Lucrezia Bertini
The actress also explains how the world of acting is also a very lonely job, “in the sense that it can also be a good time and maybe you work for six months a year, but most of the time you are very much on yourself”, explains Bertini, and therefore there is a need to do a lot of work on yourself, which is the biggest job.
“On the one hand it’s a very interesting thing because you learn about yourself and you also learn about the world, about the people you relate to,” explains Lucrezia. “And our environment is full of these very stimulating people to relate to. On the other hand, it creates a lot of fears and there’s always a bit of a syndrome, at least for me, of being an impostor or self-boycotting within situations because you feel you’re never up to what you’re doing…”
Lucrezia Bertini’s advice is that if you have a passion, but also if you think this job is your job. Then throw yourself into it 100% and put your fears aside (even if it’s not easy at all).
“It’s all about working on yourself so that you can get to a point where you can say ‘ok, I’m doing this, I’m scared, but I’m going to let it go and go ahead and try to put myself into what I’m doing 100%… because when you put yourself into it you’re real and then you’re credible, and when you don’t you’re weaker. Follow your passions always.Lucrezia Bertini