HollywoodLife.com talked EXCLUSIVELY with actor Toby Sebastian about taking on the role of legendary opera singer Andrea Bocelli in the biopic ‘The Music of Silence.’
The Music of Silence is now in theaters and VOD/Digital HD. The film is based on the true story of Andrea Bocelli, who overcame all obstacles as a young blind boy to become one of the world’s best opera singers. Toby Sebastian, who played Trystane Martell on Game of Thrones, tackles the role of the music icon with ease. In addition to Toby, the movie stars Luisa Ranieri, Jordi Mollà, Ennio Fantastichini, and Antonio Banderas. The Music of Silence is directed by Academy Award nominee Michael Radford. The Music of Silence will feature songs that Bocelli composed when he was young that have never been released.
HollywoodLife.com talked EXCLUSIVELY with Toby about playing Andrea, who has sold over 80 million records worldwide. Toby got the opportunity of a lifetime to meet and talk to Andrea before filming the biopic. He admits there was a pressure in playing a real person, but working with Andrea helped ease his fears. Toby also talks working with his childhood hero — Antonio! Check out our Q&A below!
How did you research and prepare for the role of one of the greatest singers our all-time?
Toby Sebastian: There are so many factors involved in playing anyone, a real person is a huge one, let alone the fact that he’s still alive. Then of course there’s trying to show the ages of 15 to 34 in an authentic way and show him becoming more mature. I had seven weeks before we started filming. The good thing about someone famous and current is that there’s YouTube. There’s thousands of videos and tons of articles to read on him. Best of all, before I even started filming, I flew off to Tuscany to Forte dei Marmi, where he lives. I basically spent five days with him, which was just an absolute dream. I got to watch him, watch the way he moves, and see who he really is as a person and with his family in his home. Those few days that I had with him… without that I couldn’t have done the job that I did. He was incredibly welcoming and invited me into his home with open arms.
There is such a responsibility taking on a real person and one who was still alive. I’m sure spending that time with him alleviated a lot of that pressure.
Toby Sebastian: Yeah, it did. I was terrified in a good way, though. I feel like, as an actor, if I’m not a little scared or on my toes, it’s not as exciting and I feel like there’s something wrong. It felt right and felt fantastic, but that fear was definitely there and healthy. I remember calling up my parents before I started filming and just going through the several Italian songs I had to sing, and I basically watched him sing those songs to me and I thought, “Wow, have I bitten off more than I can chew?” This is such a big thing and everyone is going to watch it because it’s Andrea Bocelli. He calmed me down completely, and I had a lot of confidence after I met him because I got to film him, watch him, and talk to him. It was wonderful.
Did you have to learn music for the role?
Toby Sebastian: I had to learn the songs that I sang in the film, but they obviously had someone better to sing them: Andrea Bocelli. I sang them for real, but they just took the sound off and played his actual recording. I had to learn those songs in Italian and that was pretty difficult because I don’t speak any Italian. Just a tiny, tiny bit of Spanish.
You’ve worked with tons of great actors on Game of Thrones, what was it like working with Antonio Banderas in The Music of Silence?
Toby Sebastian: It was wonderful. He’s incredibly giving as an actor, and I really got a lot from him. He went beyond meeting me halfway. I also have to admit, which I did to him after a few days of playing it cool, that he was my childhood hero, Zorro. I’d be standing next to him and tell my family, “I’m working with Zorro.” But he was lovely. He just upped my game hugely. I think that’s what it’s really with a lot of great actors. It only makes you better.
What was it like having him on set?
Toby Sebastian: I never worked with him [filming his cameo] because I obviously wasn’t in any shots with him, but he did come onto set. I would like to say that it was kind of scary and intimidating, but it wasn’t. I’d already had those few days with him and had kind of become friends with him, which sounds crazy, but it’s true. By the time I had started filming, I was in a good place.
With Game of Thrones coming to an end what was your experience like on that show?
Toby Sebastian: It’s such a huge show, and there’s a lot of people involved. There’s a real feeling of pressure because you don’t want to screw anything up really. To come and play a part in something that’s been wonderful for several seasons, and considering this is the first time the fans have seen a character from the books that they love so much come to life, you feel like you’re potentially going to step on people’s toes. But they’re a wonderful group of people, the scale of it is huge, and once you get over that, it’s kind of plain sailing. It was a life-changing experience. I’ll never forget it.
HollywoodLifers, are you going to go see The Music of Silence? What do you think of Andrea’s music? Let us know!