Netflix’s ‘From Scratch’ star Eugenio Mastrandrea on fame, working with Denzel Washington

Being a new name in Hollywood is no easy feat.

But for Eugenio Mastrandrea, a breakout role in front of an English-speaking audience couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Italian heartthrob is the star of Netflix’s hot new show “From Scratch” which has had its viewers crying rivers since landing on the streaming platform in late October.

“The story is painful and something that I think should be heard by everyone,” Mastrandrea exclusively told Page Six. “Each and every one of us has experienced each of the characters. I felt a lot of responsibility to tell Tembi’s [Locke’s] story.”

The 8-episode series follows the real story of Tembi Locke’s New York Times best-selling novel of the same name. The book tells the true story of Locke’s past, where she fell in love with her late husband Saro.

Mastrandrea stars opposite Zoe Saldaña in "From Scratch."
Mastrandrea stars opposite Zoe Saldaña in “From Scratch.”
AARON EPSTEIN/NETFLIX

In the show, Amy Wheeler — played by Zoe Saldaña — arrives in Florence, Italy, where she meets Italian chef Lino, played by Mastrandrea.

After falling in love, Lino relocates to Los Angeles to be with Amy, where he had to start life … from scratch.

Throughout the course of the limited series, the pair learns concerning news about Lino’s health and find out that his days are numbered.

Amy Wheeler (Saldaña) arrives in Florence, Italy falls in love with Italian chef Lino (Mastrandrea).
Amy Wheeler (Saldaña) arrives in Florence, Italy falls in love with Italian chef Lino (Mastrandrea).
AARON EPSTEIN/NETFLIX

Mastrandrea felt an immediate connection to Lino, calling the role nothing short of a “great responsibility.”

“I first read the book and then I read the script and I tried to obtain from what was written all the notes and suggestions and the possibilities of creation,” Mastrandrea told us. “I tried to extract them from the book and of course, I shared with Tembi – or she shared with me – memories, suggestions and notes.

“The creative process was layer after layer. And of course, the biggest part was acting practically every day with Zoe. It was great fun to add layers,” he continued. “When we were shooting the sad part of the story – the moments of the illness and then the process of dying – that month and a half was really heavy for all of us. There were amazing and very emotional moments on set because we were portraying events that really happened.”

“The story is painful and something that I think should be heard by everyone.”

Eugenio Mastrandrea

While working with “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Saldaña might seem like a daunting experience for a fresh new actor on the block, Mastrandrea said he couldn’t have had a better on-screen partner.

“It was great fun working with Zoe,” he gushed. “I had a great actress, a great professional, and an amazing leader and colleague to work with and build these two paths together.”

“She was so open and willing to share [advice] with me. Working with amazing actors is always simple – not easy – but simple. They bring in so much and you have so much to steal and observe,” he added.

The hit show follows love and loss, as Mastrandrea's character Lino gets diagnosed with a rare cancer.
The hit show follows love and loss, as Mastrandrea’s character Lino gets diagnosed with a rare cancer.
AP

As “From Scratch” continues to soar in viewing figures, Mastrandrea’s social media following follows suit. The actor admitted it’s a “strange” feeling when asked about his newfound fame.

“I don’t deal too much with social media and I’m absolutely not a tech guy because me and technology just don’t get along,” he told us. “I’m humbled and honored by the feedback and messages about the show and that so many people are interested in what I do as an actor. I feel blessed and flattered by that.”

Born and raised in Rome, Mastrandrea received a degree as a theatre actor before bagging a major role in the Italian TV series “La Fuggitiva.”

His impressive resume was only made more stately after he landed a role in the upcoming film “Equalizer 3” — starring Denzel Washington.

As filming continues on location in the Amalfi coast, Mastrandrea revealed some exclusive details about what fans can expect to see in the third installment of the franchise.

“The movie is set in an Italian town in the south of Italy, and I’m playing Maresciallo de carabinieri which is the leading police officer of the town in which Robert McCall (Washington) arrives,” he revealed. “Some really bad things go on which involves all the inhabitants of the town. And the story is basically entirely set in this small town.”

Mastrandrea said it was "great" working with Saldaña, adding that he couldn't have had a better onscreen partner.
Mastrandrea said it was “great” working with Saldaña, adding that he couldn’t have had a better onscreen partner.
JESSICA BROOKS/NETFLIX

Mastrandrea said he often found himself completely starstruck working with the two-time Academy Award winner.

“Working with Denzel is great. It’s a huge, huge, huge production and there are so many people involved,” he said. “Denzel Washington is Mr. Denzel Washington so no words needed – it’s great to see him work.”

“Three days ago, we were shooting and I was off camera in the eye-line, and so I had him right in front of me and they were filming his close-up shot and I just found myself staring with my eyes wide open,” he said, adding, “It’s great to be in this kind of movie.”

As for what’s next, Mastrandrea said he’s not quite ready to steer away from theater acting anytime soon.


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