Darkly handsome Valerio Mastandrea was a staple of Italian film for years before he drew American eyes with major Hollywood roles later on in his career. Mastandrea was born in Rome, Italy. Though he'd acted for the stage previously, he earned his first film role very early on in his career with "Ladri di cinema" (1994). He went on to star in a few Italian TV shows, as well as the stage show "Rugantino" (1998-1999), a musical comedy set in 19th century Rome. He made his directorial debut with the short film "Trevirgolaottantasette" (2005), which was about worker deaths in Italy. One of his best-known roles was in "The First Beautiful Thing" (2010), a family saga for which he won a David di Donatello award (the Italian equivalent of an Oscar) for best actor. He went on to join the likes of Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Judi Dench in a small role in the musical "Nine" (2009), based on the Broadway play inspired by Fellini's classic "8 1/2" (1963). While continuing to star in prestigious Italian films, Mastandrea also continued his involvement in international cinema, co-starring in Michael Winterbottom's much-hyped murder mystery "The Face Of An Angel" (2014) as a mysterious Italian man with a dark secret. The film, based on the notorious Amanda Knox murder case, elicited controversy from some quarters upon release.
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