Encounters – Fabio Boccanera : the italian voice of Johnny Depp (and much more…)

Fabio Boccanera

by Benedetta Tintillini

english version by Joan Malloy

Honestly I think that half the success that Johnny Depp receives in Italy, is due to Fabio Boccanera and his awesome talent.

The general audience is not even aware of the high level of professionalism that the ‘Italian Voice Actors’ embody. They are real artists who take care of one obvious and very important feature, the spoken dialogue of movies.

So it is vital that this same feature may determine the success or failure of the film in the country. Also, a great product in its original language can become mediocre with the wrong dubbing or with the choice of voice actor who can’t hit the mark. We have had examples also quite recently, especially if the choice falls on a non-professional voice actor or on just an actor chosen for the voice-over.

I meet Fabio, bright and kind, during a recent stay in Umbria. His mood testifies the extreme enthusiasm and love for his job that, despite his still young age (I could not say otherwise since we have almost the same age) he has been practicing for more than forty years.

Born into a family of voice actors, (his sister Laura is very famous and talented also) he made his first dubbing at the age of four, giving voice to the young Tippete, in the famous Walt Disney’s cartoon “Bambi”.

From then on, he performed in an unbroken series of movies, cartoons, and fiction stories, until the dubbing of Hollywood such actors as Colin Farrell, Brad Pitt and, in fact, Johnny Depp, who is an actor with undisputed skill and versatility as great as his sex appeal (Iknow, my opinion is not unbiased).

Being familiar with the Depp topic, I insist on emphasizing Fabio’s great talent of dubbing the same actor by modulating his voice according to his interpretation.
Depp plays always very original and dissimilar characters, always strange and over the top. In fact, Willy Wonka of “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” is very different from Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland” and Captain Jack Sparrow in the brilliant saga of “Pirates of the Caribbean”. The undoubted art of Fabio, it’s certainly not for me to say, lies in restoring interpretations always different, always new, original and extremely adherent to the characters.

Fabio, first of all my congratulations and my admiration for your total ability to convey emotions … are you aware that the public, even if unconsciously perceives what you deliver?
Of course I am. It is a work of extreme satisfaction – for me, totally satisfying. Some of my colleagues aspire to show their faces, but I like my job and I am happy about what I can do and convey to the public, rather, I’m flattered by the accolades  of appreciation from those who follow me and love me.

I believe that the skill of a voice actor is far greater than that of the ‘onstage actor’. They can use their facial expressions and physicality to arouse emotions and reactions while you have “only” your voice to do that, so the task is certainly more difficult.
The two jobs are very different. Let me say that the voice actor, in a sterile environment such as a dubbing room, in front of a lectern, at 9am, must be able to make and transmit a very wide range of emotions.

May I ask you whether in your long career you have ever voiced an actor or a character that somehow you did not like?
In truth, it’s never happened. Every performer and every character is a challenge. Above all, it is a way for me to raise and surpass the bar, improve, and grow in my profession.

Have you ever met Johnny Depp? I know that American actors are concerned about who’s going to dub them.
Being very professional they are very scrupulous and demand to know who will dub them in foreign countries, but I have never had the opportunity to meet Johnny Depp. He’s almost unapproachable, and to request a meeting would be very complicated, and I don’t care that much really.  I definitely would be happy if it would happen one day, by chance. I would take the opportunity to congratulate him.

In my opinion it should be up to him to congratulate you, you’re the vehicle of his fame here in Italy…
He is undoubtedly an amazing actor. American actors prepare and study constantly, their sense of professionalism is totally different from the Italian one. Unfortunately, in Italy there are no schools or academies where actors can study and train. The good ones don’t have an opportunity to show their value anyway. In America, value is place on merit and achievement. The really good ones become successful, and everyone has a chance to get into the game and aspire to success. Unfortunately, it’s not like that here in Italy…

Surely the situation of Italian cinema is in no way comparable to the American one.
Regretfully, we must acknowledge that the great Italian cinema admired all over the world does not exist anymore for several reasons. Unfortunately, it is a very vast and mixed problem ranging from artistically inferior film proposals that win at the box office to the multiplex often with bad audio that penalizes the efforts made to offer a well packaged product of good quality and to the mismanagement of financing and so on.

I personally believe that your work as voice actors, or at least your names should be the more popular
In fact the names of the voice actors should have a more prominent place at the beginning
of the closing credits, for example, as requested, by the Dubbing Director and famous voice actor himself, Tonino Accolla, and not at the end of them. In the case of American films, the credits often last for several minutes and no one ever reads them to the end.

Any projects in the immediate future?
In January, I’ll already be back in the dubbing room … so you’ll soon hear about me!

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