The Hand of God’s Filippo Scotti Defies Expectations

The star of Paolo Sorrentino’s semi-autobiographical film says he isn’t a typical Italian.

Interview by Lynn Hirschberg
Photographs by Tim Walker
Styled by Sara Moonves
Originally Published: 

Filippo Scotti wears an S.S. Daley sweater vest and shirt; Dries Van Noten pants.
Filippo Scotti wears an S.S. Daley sweater vest and shirt; Dries Van Noten pants.

Twenty-two-year-old Filippo Scotti had just a few credits to his name when, after five auditions, he was picked to star in The Hand of God, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s semi-autobiographical film about a freak accident and soccer legend Diego Maradona’s famed 1986 World Cup goal. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival and is Italy’s official pick to compete for the Best International Feature Film Oscar. While Scotti maintains he still doesn’t think he’s particularly famous, he has won plaudits for his performance and has found himself mingling among the A-list. For W’s Best Performances issue, Scotti divulges his first crushes, reminisces on the history of his hair, and explains why he isn’t a typical Italian.

Your film references a famous event in soccer history, when the Argentine player Diego Maradona made an illegal goal with his hand. Did you know about this moment?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I knew the story. But I’m not really a soccer fan.

Really? And you were born in Italy?

Yes. In the north, and I grew up in Naples. But I don’t even drink coffee! I am a strange Neapolitan.

When you were growing up, did you have a cinematic crush?

I was super in love with Violet in The Incredibles. And I very much liked Emma Watson in Harry Potter.

Scotti wears a Valentino shirt; Dries Van Noten pants.

Since your film came out, have you been starstruck?

Yes! I met Leonardo DiCaprio, and I said hi. Very smooth, without emotion. I was super happy!

Are you known for your hair in Italy?

I don't think I'm famous for my hair in Italy. I don't think I’m famous in general. When I was 5, my parents decided to cut my hair because there was lice in school. I was, like, bald. I looked in the mirror and I said, "Mom, I'm not Filippo anymore. I'm Andrea now,” which is another Italian name. When I was 5 years old to 2015, I had that hair. I wouldn’t let it grow. My sister was like, "But come on, let it grow."

And you became Filippo again.

Again, finally.

Hair by Ali Pirzadeh for Dyson Hair at CLM; makeup by Daniel Sallstrom for Chanel at MA+ Group; manicure by Michelle Saunders for Nailtopia. Set Design by Gary Card at Streeters. Produced by Wes Olson and Hannah Murphy at Connect the Dots; production manager: Zack Higginbottom at Connect the Dots; photo assistants: Antonio Perricone, Jeff Gros, Morgan Pierre; digital technician: Michael Preman; lighting technician: Keith Coleman; key grip: Scott Froschauer; retouching: Graeme Bulcraig at Touch Digital; senior style editor: Allia Alliata di Montereale; senior fashion market editor: Jenna Wojciechowski; fashion assistants: Julia McClatchy, Antonio Soto, Nycole Sariol, Sage McKee, Josephine Chumley, Rosa Schorr; production assistants: Tchad Cousins, Juan Diego Calvo, Gina York, Brandon Fried, Nico Robledo, Kein Milledge; hair assistants: Tommy Stanton, Sol Rodriquez, Andi Ojeda; makeup assistants: Tami Elsombati, Bridgett O’Donnell; manicure assistant: Pilar Lafargue; set coordinator: Sarah Hein; set assistants: Olivia Giles, Seth Powsner, King Owusu; tailors: Suzi Bezik, Cardi Mooshool Alvaji; tailor assistant: Elma Click

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