Luka Zunic was born and grew up in the Trentino region, in Riva del Garda, and has practically never studied acting except at primary school, where he started attending a drama course. His first performance was in Town Musicians of Bremen when already the teacher noticed his extraordinary natural talent. After quickly becoming independent, little more than a teenager, he began shuttling back and forth between auditions, still close to home in Turin. It was casting director Anna Pennella who brought him to Rome, at the age of 19, to audition for Mauro Mancini’s film Non odiare. This is how Luka Zunic made his debut in a difficult, slippery and unforgettable role, that of the young Nazi skinhead Marcello. The ShorTS Premio Prospettiva, which stakes with extraordinary precision on talents of the present who promise a brilliant future (suffice it to say that in the past it has been awarded to the very young Alba Rohrwacher, Luca Marinelli and Matilda De Angelis, among others), for Luka is truly deserved. In order to enter into the mindset of Marcello, a teenager who has absorbed his father’s neo-Nazi ideology and is used to interpreting the world only by contrasts and antagonism, Luka started wearing a pair of very heavy boots and shaved his hair a month before shooting started. An immersion that made him get under the skin of his character, resulting in an incredibly mature performance. It’s no coincidence that Luka won the NuovoImaie Talent Award 2020 at the Venice Film Festival.
His journey has only just begun, but he has already landed another important role in Wilma Labate’s forthcoming film, La ragazza ha volato. He plays Brando, another character who, from the director’s own description, sounds like another challenge: “a boy who shows lack of awareness, with a few moments of unwitting humanity”. The film brought him back to Trieste for the second time: a double baptism a step away from the sea that Luka, and all of us, will not easily forget.
The character of Marcello, played by Luka Zunic, was without doubt the most sensitive and complicated in the cast. Scouting and casting took so long that at one point there seemed to be no way out. Then one day a very thin, lanky boy showed up at the auditions, with platinum blond hair and a double cut and, seeing the way he dressed and spoke, a fascination with the world of trap music. Nothing could be further from what Marcello should have been. Yet, in an instant, when I looked into his eyes, I believed I’d found him. I remember thinking: “Let’s hope he has a good audition”. And, fortunately, he did. He was certainly a diamond in the rough, but it was clear from the very first lines that he had great acting instincts, a crystal-clear talent. What Luka hid under a veneer of bravado and healthy youthful impudence was a great sensitivity, a fragility deliberately concealed that suited Marcello’s contradictions perfectly. We worked very closely with Luka to get into his character, a long and arduous process of exploration and documentation, also working on his appearance right from the start. A month before shooting, I asked him to shave off his hair and dress like Marcello in his daily life so that he would feel that those clothes were his. We then worked on body and movement, rehearsing his scenes at length. I didn’t want him to pose but to be that character, to embody a “world”. When he arrived in Trieste for the shoot, the transformation was complete.
Biography Luka Zunic
Luka Zunic was born in 2001 in Riva del Garda. He studied jazz and contemporary dance with Giovanni Mancini, then went on to study diction and orthoepy with Girolamo Angione for two years. He made his big screen debut as Niccolò in Francesco Mandelli’s Bene ma non benissimo. The following year he starred with Alessandro Gassmann and Sara Serraiocco in Non odiare, which premiered at Venice’s International Critics Week in 2020. Luka took on the complex and intense role of a youngster who succumbs to racial hatred. In 2021 he has starred in Vincenzo Alfieri’s Il confine and Wilma Labate’s La ragazza ha volato.