Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny
Greta Scacchi is an Italian/Australian actress best known for her portrayal of the doomed Tsarina Alexandra in HBO's biographical film “Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny” (1996), for which she picked up an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe nomination. She is also recognized for her Emmy and SAG nominated performance in the TV miniseries “Broken Trail” (2006). Scacchi rose to international prominence in the early 1980s after playing Olivia in the Merchant-Ivory Production “Heat and Dust” (1983). She enjoyed further praise for her acting in “The Coca-Cola Kid” (1985) and “Good Morning, Babylon” (1987) before attracting the attention of the American public with her appearance in “White Mischief” (1987). She has since starred in a variety of films, including “Presumed Innocent” (1990), “Shattered” (1991), “The Player” (1992), “The Browning Version” (1994), “Country Life,” (1994), “Jefferson in Paris” (1995), “The Serpent's Kiss” (1997), “Cotton Mary” (1999), “Looking for Alibrandi” (2000, won an AFI Award and an FCCA Award), “Beyond the Sea” (2004) and “Brideshead Revisited” (2008). Other TV projects she has appeared in include “Waterfront” (1984, won a Logia Award), “The Odyssey” (1997, received a Satellite nomination), “The Farm” (2001, earned an AFI nomination) and “The Trojan Horse” (2008). Scacchi was the recipient of Taormina Arte Award at the 2002 Taormina International Film Festival.
Scacchi was romantically linked to New Zealand singer/songwriter Tim Finn from 1983 to 1989. After they broke up, she was married to actor Vincent D'Onofrio from 1991 to 1993. The marriage produced one daughter, Leila. She also has a son named Matteo with her cousin Carlo Mantegazza.
Childhood and Family:
Greta Scacchi was born Greta Gracco on February 18, 1960, in Milan, Lombardy, Italy, to an Italian painter and art dealer, Luca Scacchi Gracco, and an English dancer, Pamela Carsinga. Her parents became estranged when she was three years old and eventually divorced. After the divorce, her mother returned to England with Greta and her two older brothers. The family first lived in London and then in Haywards Heath, West Sussex. In 1975, after her mother's marriage to Giovanni Carsinga, the family relocated to Australia, where Greta attended Hollywood Senior High School and the University of Western Australia (UWA). While in Australia, she also took on a string of odd jobs, which included working as a cowgirl and an Italian translator. Around age 18, she quit UWA and moved back to England to study at the renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She graduated in 1982 and began her film career soon after.
In 1989, Greta began a relationship with American actor Vincent D'Onofrio (born June 30, 1959) and they married in 1991. Their daughter, Leila George D'Onofrio, was born in March 1992. The couple divorced in 1993. Greta later became pregnant by her cousin, Carlo Mantegazza, and gave birth to a son named Matteo Mantegazza in late 1998.
Greta Scacchi made her television acting debut with a guest spot in the British series “Bergerac” (1981-1991). She soon attracted the attention of German director Dominik Graf, who cast her in the starring role of Anna in the German feature “The Second Sight” (1982), opposite Thomas Schücke and Irene Clarin. It was not long before she gained her international breakthrough role of Olivia in the award winning drama “Heat and Dust” (1983), which was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. The film won a BAFTA for Best Screenplay - Adapted and was nominated for Best Film, Best Direction, and Most Outstanding Newcomer to Film (Scacchi). It also received a Golden Palm nomination at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and a London Critics Circle Film Award for Screenwriter of the Year.
In 1984, Scacchi made her TV film debut in “The Ebony Tower,” an adaptation of the novelette of the same name by John Fowles that was directed by Robert Knights and starred Laurence Olivier. The same year, she also starred in the CBS TV movie remake of “Camille” and was cast as Anna Chieri in the Australian miniseries “Waterfront,” for which she won a Logie for Best Lead Actress.
Scacchi went on to costar with Gabriel Byrne and Denholm Elliott in the political thriller “Defense of the Realm” (1985, helmed by David Drury), Eric Roberts and Bill Kerr in the Australian romantic comedy “The Coca-Cola Kid” (1985, directed by Dušan Makavejev), Jack Thompson and Nigel Havers in the AFI nominated adventure “Burke & Wills” (1985, directed by Graeme Clifford) and James Mason and Alan Bates in the BBC TV film adaptation of “Doctor Fischer of Geneva” (1985). She was also paired with Peter Coyote in the Italy/France production “A Man in Love” (1987), for director/writer/producer Diane Kurys, and worked with Vincent Spano in the Italian film “Good Morning, Babylon” (1987). However, it was her starring portrayal of Diana Lady Broughton in Michael Radford's “White Mischief” (1987), opposite Joss Ackland, Sarah Miles, John Hurt and Alan Dobie, that brought the actress real notice in Hollywood. The next year, she was cast alongside Fanny Ardant in “Love and Fear” (“Paura e amore”), which was entered into the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, and starred as Angela in Vito Zagarrio's “The Moon Woman” (“La donna della luna”).
After her performance in “White Mischief,” Scacchi was cast opposite Harrison Ford in Alan J. Pakula's “Presumed Innocent” (1990), which was based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Scott Turow. The film received good reviews from critics and was a success at the box office. She followed it up in the starring role of Judith Merrick in Wolfgang Petersen's “Shattered” (1991), opposite Tom Berenger, Bob Hoskins, Joanne Whalley and Corbin Bernsen, and as Isabel in Gillian Armstrong's “Fires Within” (1991), with Jimmy Smits. Following a return to the Australian cinema with Stephen Wallace's “Turtle Beach” (1992), Scacchi received the role of June Gudmundsdottir in “The Player” (1992), which was directed by Robert Altman and scripted by Michael Tolkin based on his 1988 novel. The film was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical for Tim Robbin's performance as Hollywood producer Griffin Mill. It also received recognition at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, the 1993 BAFTA Awards, the 1993 César Awards, the 1993 Independent Spirit Awards and the Writers Guild of America. 1992 also saw her in the drama “Salt on Our Skin.”
Scacchi briefly withdrew from the public eye following her divorce from actor Vincent D'Onofrio in 1993. She resurfaced in 1994 as Albert Finney's unfaithful wife in Mike Figgis' “The Browning Version,” which was adapted from the 1948 play by Terence Rattigan. She then worked with Sam Neill in the Australian film “Country Life,” which was an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's play “Uncle Vanya.” In 1995, she was cast as painter and musician Maria Cosway in the Merchant Ivory production “Jefferson in Paris,” opposite Nick Nolte as Thomas Jefferson and Thandie Newton as Sally Hemings.
Scacchi gained recognition on the small screen for her portrayal of Tsarina Alexandra in the HBO film “Rasputin” (1996), opposite Alan Rickman and Ian McKellen. For her good acting, she was handed an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV and a Golden Satellite nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Still in 1996, she also had an unaccredited part in Australia's “Cosi” and played Mrs. Weston in the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle “Emma.”
Next up for Scacchi, she costarred with Armand Assante, Isabella Rossellini and Vanessa L. Williams in the NBC Emmy winning miniseries “The Odyssey” (1997), from which she nabbed a Golden Satellite nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, teamed up with Ewan McGregor and Pete Postlethwaite in the British movie “The Serpent's Kiss” (1997) and costarred with Daniel Craig and Stephen Dillane in the drama “Love & Rage” (1998). She then portrayed Victoria in the Canadian film “The Red Violin” (1998), opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Colm Feore, Monique Mercure, Don McKellar, Sylvia Chang, Jason Flemyng and Carlo Cecchi, and starred in the TV film “Macbeth” (1998). In 1999, she portrayed Mrs. Ravenscroft in “The Manor,” opposite Gabrielle Anwar and Peter O'Toole, Aunt Gwen Kitson in the film adaptation of Philippa Pearce's book “Tom's Midnight Garden,” Lucia in Gabriella Cristiani's “Ladies Room” and Lily MacIntosh in the period drama “Cotton Mary.”
Entering the new millennium, Scacchi was cast as Christina Alibrandi in “Looking for Alibrandi” (2000), an Australian movie written by Melina Marchetta that was directed by Kate Woods. It won several AFI awards and the role earned the actress a Film Critics Circle of Australia Award. She then portrayed the wife of Jeff Goldblum in “One of the Hollywood Ten” (also 2000), played Alice Palmer in Henry Jaglom's “Festival in Cannes” (2001) and starred with Colin Friels and Marton Csokas in the Australian TV miniseries “The Farm” (2001), where she was nominated for an AFI Award for Best Actress in a Telefeature or Mini-Series for her portrayal of Liz Cooper. She next played Margaret Thatcher in the BBC drama “Jeffrey Archer: The Truth” (2002) and guest starred in the BBC series “Daniel Deronda” (2002).
Scacchi continued to play roles in such films as “Il ronzio delle mosche” (2003), “Baltic Storm” (2003), “Strange Crime” (2004), “Maigret: L'ombra cinese” (2004, TV), Kevin Spacey's “Beyond the Sea” (2004) and the Jodie Foster starring vehicle “Flightplan” (2005). In 2006, she was cast as Nola Johns in the miniseries “Broken Trail,” which starred Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church. Directed by Walter Hill, the series was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie and a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. The same year, she also appeared in “Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs” (TV movie), “The Book of Revelation,” an Australian film directed by Ana Kokkino, “Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King” (TV miniseries), “The Handyman” (short) and the TV series “Two Twisted” (episode “Heart Attack”).
The actress next portrayed Diane in “Johnny Shakespeare” (2007), an episode of “The Afternoon Play,” Dr. Dubois in “Hidden Love,” a 2007 Italian/Belgian drama directed by Alessandro Capone, Susan Ali in the Jag Mundhra directed film “Shoot on Sight” (2007), and Cassandra Austen in the TV film “Miss Austen Regrets” (PBS, 2008). She also appeared as Helen Madigan in the Canadian TV miniseries “The Trojan Horse” (CBC, 2008) and Cara in the British dramatic film “Brideshead Revisited” (2008), which was directed by Julian Jarrold and starred Emma Thompson, Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell and Michael Gambon. She also had an unaccredited part in the film “Inconceivable” (2008) by director Mary McGuckian.
Following a short break in 2009, Scacchi returned with roles in the 2010 films “Ways to Live Forever” (with Emilia Fox and Ben Chaplin) and “Un altro mondo” (as Cristina). Recently, in 2011, she completed filming “Hindenburg,” a Germany TV movie written and directed by Philipp Kadelbach.
Scacchi has also appeared in several British stage productions, including Shakespeare's “Much Ado About Nothing” (2005), George Bernard Shaw's “You Can Never Tell” (2005), “Waiting for Godot” (2005) and Noel Coward's “Private Live” (2005). In 2008, she played the role of Hester Collyer in “The Deep Blue Sea.”
Taormina International Film Festival: Taormina Arte Award, 2002
Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA): Best Supporting Actor - Female, “Looking for Alibrandi,” 2001
AFI: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, “Looking for Alibrandi,” 2000
Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, “Rasputin,” 1996
Logie: Best Lead Actress, “Waterfront,” 1985