Actor Alessandro Nivola Talks Budapest, Sardinia, and The Elephant Man
The Boston-born actor, appearing next month in the Broadway revival of The Elephant Man and the film A Most Violent Year, chats with T+L about his Italian roots, fireworks, and his secret New York watering hole.
Q: What hotel would you move into, if you could?
A: Su Gologone, near Oliena, in Sardinia, is in the mountains, away from the hoi polloi—definitely the true Sardinia. My sculptor grandfather came from Orani, a nearby town. Whenever my grandmother invited visitors to see the Nivola Museum, a gallery of his work, she’d always put them up at Su Gologone.
Q: Name a bar you’d relocate to Brooklyn, where you live.
A: Budapest’s Szimpla. It’s huge, with all kinds of rooms, each with its own character, full of found objects. There’s also an open courtyard and great live music. It’s cozy, sexy, and romantic.
Q: Have you visited Budapest recently?
A: My wife, Emily Mortimer, just finished filming a movie there. On St. Stephen’s Day, in August, we saw the most incredible fireworks. It was as if an American grand finale went on for 45 minutes. We watched them shoot off from the famous Chain Bridge while on a boat on the Danube.
Q: The Elephant Man is your third play on Broadway. Where do you hang out after the show?
A: Bar Centrale, on 46th Street, is a cool little bar with no sign—it’s where all the actors convene.
Q: Have you ever gotten lost in the most wonderful way?
A: Yes, in Moscow. It may be a teeming metropolis, but I’ve never felt more remote or farther from home. During New Year’s a few years ago, Emily and I stayed at Hotel National, where our room looked out over the Kremlin. The city, covered in snow, was exactly the way you hoped it would look. We felt as if we were in a John le Carré novel.