Julia Louis-Dreyfus has serious marriage problems with onscreen husband Will Ferrell during their European ski vacation in the dark comedy “Downhill” (now in theaters).
But her Billie is sitting pretty when it comes to her ruggedly hot, Italian ski instructor Guglielmo, who ends up giving her solo instruction that includes a mid-mountain calf massage.
The scene-stealing mountain man is played by Italian model and actor Giulio Berruti, 35, (a one-time dental student) who might be remembered by fans for his appearance as the cad Italian prince wooing Kate Cassidy’s Emma in 2011’s “Monte Carlo.”
So who is the 6’3″ Berruti? USA TODAY sought to find out.
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Question: You’re literally listed as Italian Guy #2 in the 2003 ‘Lizzie McGuire Movie.’ How was that?
Giulio Berruti: That’s how I started. I was modeling at the time and they asked me to do this audition for “Lizzy McGuire.” I had no idea what it was. But I literally just passed her by in the shot, walking by as they were saying, ‘Italian guys are so hot.’ Something like that. That’s it. But that was my baptism in the movie business. I saw all these people doing this crazy job of being someone else. So I started studying it.
Q: What did you have to do to get the part of an Italian ski instructor in ‘Downhill’?
Berruti: In the beginning I auditioned to be a French ski instructor. So I worked hard on that accent. They asked if it was possible to me to go to LA and do the audition with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I said I’m already on the plane! I think Julia was looking for someone to be confident and comfortable around. She gave me a chance and was the best partner I ever had.
So they just asked me before shooting, why don’t you speak with an Italian accent. So I was ‘Yeah, I can do that.’ But I trained so hard to get the right accent for the French guy.
Q: You show some moves on the slopes, have you ever really taught skiing?
Berruti: I taught a bit when I younger on snow blades. I love to ski, it’s one of my favorite sports. But I’ve crashed so much in the past that now I try not to. But we were working on the slopes all day (filming ‘Downhill’). So it was like a sort of a vacation with friends, just magic.
Q. Did you ever imagine you’d be giving Julia Louis-Dreyfus a calf massage in a ski hut?
Berruti: Never, ever in my life. Especially when I was studying dentistry, because that’s my background, would I imagine I’d be the guy giving Julia Louis-Dreyfus a massage.
Q. Your Guglielmo believes in spiking his coffee with alcohol before skiing. What’s your thought on this?
Berruti: Special coffee! That’s very typical of big mountains in Europe. But I would not suggest it. You don’t want to mix it up, alcohol and skiing. People can get smashed too much. We have a lot of après ski parties too.
Q: Speaking of smashes, will we see any wipe-outs in the ‘Downhill’ blooper reels?
Berruti: I was acting and giving Julia ski instructions and I miserably crashed into a fence. I didn’t see it. I was like, ‘Bend your knees! Bend your legs!’ Then I crashed and ate tons of snow. I was like, ‘Sorry guys!’ Everybody made fun of me. It is a good memory that I have.
Q. How will you build on this role?
Berruti: I’m pretty sure that I will be one of the few Italian guys out there that will probably be able to make it in the United States. I’m doing everything I can to fulfill my dream. This is the country I want to be in, the land of opportunity
Next I’ll play an American professor teaching Italian literature that falls in love in “Gabriel’s Inferno.” It’s a very interesting story and there’s a huge fan base for this book. We just wrapped the first movie of the trilogy.
Q: The only loss is really the dentistry field – were you a good dentist?
Berruti: I don’t know if I’m a good dentist, because I’m working as an actor right now. So I guess I was not.