Cultnik Magazine's Shannon Luster and Sharon Jordan sat down with FABIO TASSONE for an interview centering on his thoughts about acting, music festivals, and more. Fabio is a well known actor on television and also for his voice over work. Fabio acted as the Duke of Nájera on the wildly popular series, THE TUDORS, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as King Henry VIII. Fabio is also a successful voice over actor for commercials and video games. In RISE OF THE GUARDIANS video game, based on the movie sporting the same title, Fabio voiced Jude Law's character Pitch.

Fabio Tassone
SHANNON LUSTER: What first drew you to acting? Did anyone inspire you to act and if so, who?

FABIO TASSONE: I grew up in a small town on the southern coast of Spain. We had a 350-seat Theatre there run by British ex-pats with very successful theatre seasons every year, and all my friends from school had already taken part in a production of the musical OLIVER! there. They all seemed to have a blast, and I remember feeling like I was missing out on something fun. My parents however were never too keen to let me get involved with the theatre company, so I waited until they both went on holiday one summer (I believe I must have been about 15 at the time), and I went along to audition for the Christmas production of THE WIZARD OF OZ without telling them. I ended up getting cast as the TIN MAN, loved every minute of the experience and the snowball began its long journey!

My grandad was the person that inspired me to act. He wasn't an actor himself, but he was a real character with a very artistic personality. When I was a kid he would constantly play with me and we would host imaginary television and radio shows (that we would actually record on tape) and make up little scenes together, which as you can imagine gave me the most amazing creative outlet at that age. I always knew I wanted to act, and he definitely played a big part in that.

SHARON JORDAN: You earned a bachelor's degree in law at the University of Kent in Canterbury. How has this degree influenced your acting career?

FT: So there I was having just left my home country and my parents, moving to a new exciting country and living on my own for the first time ever! It was the most exciting time of my life for sure. I was like a kid in a toy store, and I never really stopped acting throughout my entire degree.

In THE FRONT PAGE by Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur
Not only during our moots (which is what we called our mock trials where we would debate real cases and would end up defending both the defendant and the plaintiff sides of the conflict), but also on stage and on film. The great thing about studying in the UK was that the performing arts are everywhere. The university had two excellent theatre companies in two beautiful big theatres that I worked in, as well as a film department that gave me the opportunity of being cast in some of the short films that were part of their course.

The time I spent at Kent just cemented my love for acting even more, and the City of Canterbury was bustling with acting opportunities that I like to think I took full advantage of.

SJ: You also trained at the well-known acting school, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. What are some of your favorite memories from this acting school? What are some of the most important lessons you learned there?

FT: Training at Bristol was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

In UNDER MILK WOOD by Dylan Thomas
There were 15 of us in my year (11 boys and 4 girls). We worked very long hours from about 8.30am to 7 or 8pm every day for 3 years. There are too many fantastic memories to highlight any: from the countless singing, dance, voice and text classes to travelling for hours together on a tiny bus/van during our theatre tours, to taking a Shakespeare play to Cyprus to play all the Greco-Roman Amphitheatres on the island, to performing the final showcase in our very first experience of a London West End theatre... I honestly could go on forever. I made the absolute best friends anyone could ever wish for. We will always have a very special lasting bond no matter where we all end up, because we went through those three action-packed years together.

I think the most important lesson I learned from the Bristol Old Vic is definitely to have discipline in everything you do. To be respectful of others and to respect yourself in your work and in everything it encompasses.

by William Shakespeare

SL: You acted as the Duke of Nájera on the wildly popular series, THE TUDORS, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as King Henry VIII. What was it like working there? Are there any favorite memories you would like to share with us?

FT: It was a real privilege to be involved in that show. It was my first ever television job, so I was reeling with both fear and excitement. I remember landing in Dublin at 9am and being picked up by a really friendly production driver who informed me the shooting schedule had completely changed, and that we were shooting my first scene that same day. All I did during most of the drive is look over the script I had already memorized a countless number of times. Once we got to Ardmore Studios I was taken to the costume department which absolutely took my breath away. Let me put it this way: they definitely deserved all the Emmys they had won. I tried on about 4 beautiful outfits before being taken down to hair and make-up. The walk over to the set was interminable, and I distinctly recall going through some doors into a really dark space which suddenly became the interior of Hampton Court Palace in front of my very eyes. I instantly found myself in the middle of the throne chamber surrounded by actors who were introducing themselves to me one after the other. I of course would forget the name as soon as I heard it. Jonathan came up to me to introduce himself, and showed me around the set before we started rehearsal. I went from being very intimidated to feeling completely welcome and part of a team. Working with Joely Richardson was an absolute highlight for me. We spent a lot of time together as we were partnered in a big choreographed period dance piece (which took nearly 12 hours to film) and we laughed the whole day.

With Joely Richardson in THE TUDORS
SJ: You have also done a lot of voice-over work on commercials (such as Sketchers, Nike, and Ecko) and video games (RISE OF THE GUARDIANS). How did you get into voice overs? What type of training did you have? What advice would you give to others who are interested in working in voice overs?

FT: I fell into the voice over world completely by accident, and it was thanks to my languages. My mum is half French half Spanish, and my dad
is Italian. As I was growing up, they decided I should go to an English school, which means I could speak 4 languages fluently by the time I was six.

When I moved to London after drama school, I randomly met a Spanish actress at a casting who started speaking to me about the voice work she did on the side to supplement her income. I really felt that might be something I'd enjoy doing, so I recorded a voice demo in all 4 languages and sent it to various voice agents. In the UK voice world you can be represented by more than one agency, and that's exactly what happened to me. I got signed by 4 agents who primarily dealt with foreign voice work. I quickly found a niche in the market and ended up voicing many adverts and characters in top video games.

With Joely Richardson in THE TUDORS
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS was my first major voice job here in the US, and a fantastic experience. I was asked to voice Jude Law's character Pitch from the Dreamworks movie. Pitch is the evil British bogeyman in the film, so you can imagine how much fun I had!

With a strong voice demo, anyone who is interested in getting into voice-overs will be able to get interest from a good voice agent. The key is to lose all inhibitions in front of the mike and to fully commit to the character you are playing. I have an absolute blast with every job I take on.

SJ: In your opinion, what are the differences between working as an actor in Europe versus America?

FT: It's very different. In the UK there are less jobs, and therefore less auditions. But your chances of getting the job once you are in the audition room are much greater.
The Hollywood Sign

I have never auditioned as much as I have since I’ve been here in the US. Sometimes getting up to 4 theatrical auditions in a week, which in the UK is unheard of. Because of the sheer volume of auditions and sides you have to learn, you have to be so focused and disciplined to get the preparation done.

The demands are very different in both countries, and it feels great for an actor to keep auditioning rather than having to wait for a month between one casting and the next.

SLL: You recently attended Coachella for the first time. Would you like to share your experience there? Any favorite memories? Any not so favorite memories?

FT: I did! I had the best week-end. I wouldn't really call myself a festival person, but Coachella is just different. I went down with 5 friends and we stayed in this great house on the Indian Palms golf course right next to the festival grounds. I loved travelling there and back every day on bicycles that we could ride all the way in to the main gate.

At the Coachella Music Festival
Once you are inside, there is this amazing sense of being part of a community… It’s an artistic playground full of good music and great people. The absolute highlight for me was Janelle Monae’s set. Her show was so theatrical with the most infectious amount of energy. I am a huge fan of her music. I’ve already bought my ticket for next year!

SL: What's next for Fabio Tassone?

FT: I definitely like to keep busy. I am currently writing my first screenplay, which is something I have always wanted to do but was too scared to get into.

Also, a script recently fell into my hands which I am very excited about doing. The movie is a drama centered around two people: Katrina and César, the character I play. Katrina is an Australian mature student in Los Angeles who becomes involved with César, a Spanish-born United States citizen. A day before she is due to leave the States, a tragic event happens to César leaving her dreams completely shattered. Both the cast and the story are very strong and we start filming in the summer. I’m counting the days!

Oh, and I’m about to start a big voice project with Sega in the next couple of weeks which will definitely be a lot of fun.

In James Dean territory -- the Griffith Observatory with downtown LA on the horizon



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