THE ITALIAN JOB – Hollywood rising star Alberto Frezza talks about his character from “Station 19” and his life as an actor with DAMAN
Today, Italian born Alberto Frezza is known primarily for his portrayal of Ryan Tanner, one of the most intriguing characters from “Station 19”—the popular spinoff to “grey’s Anatomy.” The series follows a group of heroic firefighters stationed at Station 19 (obviously) of the Seattle Fire Department and focuses on the lives of the men and women—from the station’s captain to the newest lowly recruit—as they risk their lives and hearts in the line of duty. Naturally, other first responders—paramedics, police and so on—feature heavily as well. This is where Frezza comes in. As the series’ second season continues and more film projects head his way, he shares the finer points of his life story and what lies ahead in the chapters yet to be written.
DA MAN: Hi Alberto! Glad to have you with us. Since it’s a new year and all, how was 2018 for you?
Alberto Frezza: glad to be a part of this! 2018 was a great year for me. It was a great year with work, which just makes everything a little bit better.
DA MAN: Which reminds us, your latest show, “Station 19,” is now in the middle its season two. In a nutshell, what was it like shooting that one?
Alberto Frezza: it’s been a great time so far. We are almost halfway done shooting the second season. We have a
great group of people working on our show, which makes going to set a real pleasure.
DA MAN: Can you tell us a bit about your character and your role in this series?
Alberto Frezza: I play Ryan Tanner, a police officer on the Seattle Police Department who works very closely with the Seattle Fire Department. Tanner had a troubled past, but was able to pull himself together and flipped his life around
trying not to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He also has history with Andy from the Fire Department. They were neighbors and ended up dating for a bit. They have a complicated relationship that I think both of them are still trying to navigate.
DA MAN: What kind of training did you and the rest of the cast had to go through before shooting?
Alberto Frezza: Since the show is mostly based on the firefighters, I know some of my cast-mates went through some
training. I didn’t do any training for this specific role, but I played a police officer before, so luckily the training that I did in the past helped with this role.
DA MAN: “Station 19” is a spin-off from “Grey’s Anatomy.” And a big part of the latter is the way the personal lives of the characters play out. So, are we going to see a lot of personal developments involving your character?
Alberto Frezza: Yes, we definitely will. A big part of our show is about the personal lives of these characters and how they cope with everything that’s happening around them. It’s interesting to see how the characters separate work from personal life, and how sometimes they blend in together.
DA MAN: Who would you describe the dynamics between Ryan and the rest of the firehouse?
Alberto Frezza: I think Ryan is liked by most of the firefighters. He has a deep connection with Andy and, of course, that carries over to the rest of the characters. People are slowly starting to get to know him.
DA MAN: One thing for sure, Shondaland has created some of the greatest plot twists of all time. Do you know what might be in store for your character as the show moves forward?
Alberto Frezza: To tell the truth, I don’t. We don’t really know what happens until we get the script about a week prior to shooting that specific episode. So, everything comes as a surprise for us, too.
DA MAN: What would you say are the best arguments to follow the show right now?
Alberto Frezza: Why should people watch this series? When you place complicated characters in a high stakes environment, I think it’s bound to create some interesting stories. I know each person can relate to at least one character on the show, so I’m sure it’s a show that everybody can enjoy.
DA MAN: All in all, how would you describe your experience working on “Station 19”?
Alberto Frezza: My experience has been wonderful. Most importantly, I’m learning a lot being on set with people like Miguel Sandoval and Dermot Mulroney. I consider myself lucky to be able to work with people like them. Seeing the longevity of their careers, I hope to do that as well.
DA MAN: Moving to your earlier works, one of your most recognizable appearances was in “Dead of Summer.” How did you end up being cast for this one?
Alberto Frezza: I guess the casting process was pretty straightforward compared to “Station 19.” it was a pretty quick process with an initial audition and then a test.
DA MAN: What is your fondest memory of being on that show?
Alberto Frezza: I think filming in Vancouver was the best part of it. It’s one of my favorite cities. We filmed into
the summer, which gave us a lot of time to be out in nature. British Columbia is beautiful.
DA MAN: You play deputy Garrett Sykes on the show, who is often described as a strong person, with a lot of passion and a big heart. How do you put yourself in the shoes—and head—of a character like that?
Alberto Frezza: Well, you try to take into consideration the given circumstances of the script and then expand and explore on top of that. You create your own detailed backstory and then talk to the writers about it. The more you create, the better understanding you get of a character. That’s usually how I start preparing a role.
DA MAN: They say that with every role, you learn something as an actor and maybe something about yourself. What was it that you took with you from your experience on “Dead of Summer”?
Alberto Frezza: To take nothing for granted, and always be curious. My character always investigated further, even when he was given answers. I think that is truly important for an actor, and people in general. We should always be curious.
DA MAN: Back to the present, besides “Station 19,” what else are you working on right now?
Alberto Frezza: Because our schedule for the shooting process is crazy, nothing at the moment. But once we go on hiatus, I’ll be looking to do a movie. That’s my goal right now.
DA MAN: Moving on to more personal matters, have you always wanted to be an actor? When was it that you realized that this is what you wanted to do for a living?
Alberto Frezza: Not really. I wanted to be a soccer player growing up but acting was always something that I was interested in. I just never thought it was possible given that I was so far away from the United States. But one day, I decided to go for it, and I think it’s paying off. I decided when I graduated from high school. I was applying to business schools in the United States, and I thought that if I moved to the States, I was going to do something that I actually loved. So, I went to acting school.
DA MAN: What are your current longterm career goals?
Alberto Frezza: Movies are my passion, so hopefully, I get to do more of those. I’d also love to do theatre. TV now has such great material, so it’s kind of hard to say. I want to play meaningful characters and tell compelling stories … So the more I get to do that, the happier I’ll be.
DA MAN: In the world of acting, who do you look up to?
Alberto Frezza: I look up to Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, just to name a few, for their careers and what they have been able to do. But River Phoenix is my hero. He’s the one who opened up the doors of acting for me.
DA MAN: Outside of acting, what are your biggest interests?
Alberto Frezza: Being in nature. Trying to create awareness on how we have to do something to protect these wonderful animals that share this planet with us. It should be a priority to protect them. We all need to do more.
DA MAN: How important is having an active social media presence for an actor like yourself? Especially today when everything is online.
Alberto Frezza: Well, it is very important but I try to keep a distance with social media because it can get very toxic. I try to keep my personal life private. you’ll never see me posting a story of me brushing my teeth. I think it’s important to keep a conversation with the fans and people who support you while balancing privacy. Using it to create awareness and spreading messages and positivity is one of the pro of social media.
DA MAN: Last but not least, what’s the smallest decision you have ever made that had the biggest impact on your life?
Alberto Frezza: That’s a good question. I guess the smallest decision I made was following the whisper that told me to tell my college counselor that I wanted to be an actor. I don’t think I’d be here right now if I hadn’t expressed that feeling to her.
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