Giovanni Scifoni, the psychiatrist of the Doc series: “I don’t know how to educate my children and I’m a neurotic”

May 5, 2022 – 07:12

Tonight at the Verdi in Florence, with the Ort, he will read pieces by Moby Dick: “Paolo Poli told me: you have beautiful legs, beautiful hair: you just lack talent”

from Caterina Ruggi d’Aragona



«The golden proportion of the Renaissance squares and the countryside as orderly as a plate of sushi: Tuscany has everything that I lack, who are Baroque Rococo, with horror vacui and the serial accumulator syndrome». The Roman actor Giovanni Scifoni can’t help but make fun of himself. Perhaps self-irony, which dampens the encumbrance of a witty and cultured intelligence, is one of the secrets of his success. In addition, of course, to eclecticism. Which leads him to move from stages to TV, from the big screen to digital platforms and social media, finding the time to write a book (Without offending anyone, Mondadori). He never stops. In fact, this interview was “stolen” between Termini station and the train that took him to Florence, to reach the Verdi Theater, where tonight, at 9 pm, he is the reciting voice of Giorgio Federico Ghedini’s “Concerto dell’Albatro” , inspired by Moby Dick, with the Orchestra della Toscana conducted by Alessandro Cadario.

Rediscover two old passions: music and comics …


«I will read passages from Melville translated by Pavese: a guarantee. Anyway, yes, I studied piano for 10 years, with very little results. It is not certain that a passion, even if overwhelming, will reciprocate you. Music wasn’t in love with me. But working with the Ort (with whom I played Haydn’s music last year at the Cenacolo di Santa Croce) is like turning the key of a Lamborghini ».

From the platypus (in your novel) to the albatross: do animals chase you?

“My zoologist brother-in-law runs away when he sees me, because I fill him with questions. I want to know everything about animals, which are essential for creativity. Stereotyped images of our impulses help us a lot. Coleridge, in the Rime of the Old Sailor, describes the albatross that as long as he flies he looks wonderful but when he leans on the deck of the ship he is stoned by the sailors. Like all people who don’t know how to be in the world. Like me, who always feel uncomfortable. And like the platypus, my guide animal, which is unclassifiable: a mammal that lays eggs, suckles but has no udders, sweats milk and injects poison, has a duck bill and a beaver’s tail … I feel like this: I would always like to stay somewhere else. It will be the legacy of a family that gave me the maniacal need to distinguish myself ».

What was your childhood like?

“Very funny, cheerful, carefree. We were 6 children, with two Catto-Communist parents. At home we had books by Don Milani and Marx, by Che Guevara and Pope Wojtyla. My brothers have been my best friends. But there was also a lot of neurosis. For example, my father, who had a very powerful disposition for storytelling and storytelling, forced us to tell, standing on the chair, whatever we did “.

In the end he became an actor …

“An elderly actress who lived in the building was teaching the classics to us children in the hobby room. The shot came with the philosophy professor, an incredible character. He wore a tunic and played the double bass, welcomed us at home to continue the lesson, made us drink whiskey and smoke cigars… He was also an actor. One day I went to see him: he was acting naked. I started wanting to be like him. Teenagers need crazy models ».

Paolo Poli, on the other hand, was very bad …

“Terrible. I joined his company as soon as I left the academy. I was a baby boy, even physically. He said to me “You have beautiful legs, beautiful hair: you just lack talent”. A total genius, with a superfine intelligence, to whom I owe so much; but he thought I was a dog. Only after the last repetition of two years of backbreaking work on Caterina de ‘Medici did he tell me “You are a little better” ».

How did it go with Lando Buzzanca?

“We fought a lot. He felt threatened by me. He said “You are sabotaging the movie”. He swore to offend me. After a long stormy start, we started to love each other ».

And what do you remember from your first set, for The Best of Youth?

“A game. Marco Tullio Giordana is like a child with the joystick in his hand: despite his great professionalism, he has maintained the passion of those who make a director as a hobby. We had fun with him, we improvised … I really thought I was in the ’70s ».

Which director would you like to work with?

“Who do you take me with?”

And who would you like to play?

“An extraterrestrial. I could free myself from realism, a disease of our cinema. I come from the school of Poli: I want to dream ».

“I’m a messed up dad. A cumbersome presence. When they know I’m there, locked up in my room to write, my children snort, because they know they have to be quiet … Of course they don’t. “

With the miniseries La mia jungla he told the daily life of your normal family on RaiPlay …

“Rai was courageous, because the media adhere to American policies that make it difficult to narrate classic families: two straight parents with three children (Tommaso 15, Cecilia 13, Marco 8). However, my format had already been successful on social media, where there is the real world. Including stereotypes like us, with a wife who only works at home. We also adhere to the stereotype of the traditional family who does not know how to educate their children ».

“We are neurotic and tragic. Every now and then there is one of us thrown on the sofa, in depression. We know that comedy is a tragedy with more time ».

How did you live in lockdown?

«Like a strange vacation: we had a lot of fun, inventing so many things. But there was also an obsession with presence. Marco had built a big box in which he would lock himself up every now and then to be alone; with blanket, light and Stilton book, he stayed there for hours. Cecilia, on the other hand, who is independent like a cat, disappeared and then reappeared offended saying “I was hiding and no one came looking for me” “.

How did you tell your children about the war?

“In the worst way: with worry and neurosis. Watching so many news and scaring them with phrases like “We have to get ready, maybe they invade us. Better if we all die together ”. Luckily Tommaso, thin as a twig, knows how to cash in well (next year he wants to do pre-boxing). With him we experienced the most terrifying mistakes: he held up, without becoming a psychopath ».

Speaking of the Doc series, he said “I can’t compete with Argentero, I’ll never be a sex symbol.” What do you think your wife?

«He shares. I would have to change too many things to become a sex symbol, and she wouldn’t like me anymore. She married the boorish part of me, my almost asexual evanescence, with something faunal that makes me not very erotic. I am Apollonian more than Dionysian ». A messy Apollo.

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May 5, 2022 | 07:12

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Giovanni Scifoni, the psychiatrist of the Doc series: “I don’t know how to educate my children and I’m a neurotic”