A Brooklyn State of Mind
“Nobody is born speaking two languages.” Maria Grazia Cucinotta
One of Italian fruitful actresses, Maria Grazia Cucinotta gained her initial worldwide recognition for her role as the love interest in the enormously popular The Postman (1994). To most American, the tall, dark-haired Sicilian beauty is perhaps best-known for portraying the Italian correspondent in Frank Rainone’s crime/drama A Brooklyn State of Mind (1997), where she was handed a New York International Independent Film & Video Festival Award, and as the assassin in the 007 adventure The World Is Not Enough (1999). She added her Hollywood resume by playing roles in Picking Up the Pieces (2000, opposite Sharon Stone and Woody Allen) and Just One Night (2000, with Timothy Hutton).
A well-known movie and TV actress in Italia, Cucinotta will costar as Caterina in the thriller Fly Light (2006), along with Flavio Bucci and Nathalie Caldonazzo.
Former model Cucinotta stands 5’ 10½” tall and measures 39D-25-35. In her free time, the outgoing but shy Cucinotta enjoys staying at home, cleaning the house, talking on the phone and reading books. As for her marriage life, she marries businessman Giulio Violati, who becomes the father of their only child.
Childhood and Family:
In Messina, Sicily, Italy, Maria Grazia Cucinotta was born on July 27, 1969. She started modeling while still in high school, working during her summer holidays in Milan. But, when she completed her studies, Maria decided to put modeling on the backburner, citing she was never required to use her head. An aspiring actress from an early age, she then turned her attention to acting. To help full fill her dream, she began taking drama classes and pronunciation lessons to get rid of her Sicilian accent. She also provided time to learn English.
As for her love life, Maria was married to businessman Giulio Violati on October 8, 1995. Maria and her husband of 11 years, Violati, have one child and they currently reside in Rome.
The voluptuous Maria Grazia Cucinotta got her start as a model in Milan as a teenager, but soon got bored with the modeling life and chose to depart in favor of acting. She then made audition circuits and broke the small screen for the first time with a part as a sexy concubine in the Renzo Arbore television show Indietro Tutta, a gig that triggered her acting career. She then joined with an agent and went on taking spots on small programs and variety show. However, it wasn’t easy for Cucinotta to get herself film roles. This led her to receive work on TV commercials, most notably for Persol glasses and Banca di Roma bank. A somewhat in-demand ads model, Cucinotta caught the attention of moviemakers who soon got her parts in their projects.
In early 1990s, Cucinotta kicked off her film career in her native country of Italy with roles in Journey of Love (1990), Christmas Vacation ’90 (1990) and its installment Christmas Vacation ’91 (1991), High Risk, It All Started by Chance, and Abbronzatissimi 2 - un anno dopo (all 1993). She also appeared in series “Andy e Norman” (1991) and miniseries “Ragnatela, La” (1991).
Cucinotta, however, didn’t receive international recognition until director Michael Radford cast her in the female lead of Beatrice Russo, the sexy barmaid who attracts Massimo Troisi’s interest in The Postman (1994). The drama/romance was a worldwide hit and won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score. As for Cucinotta, the film’s phenomenal success helped elevate her career.
More film roles knocked on her doors after the breakthrough performance. She appeared on the international-released comedy The Day of the Beast (1995) for director Alex de la Iglesia, and was seen in such movies as Leonardo Pieraccioni’s victorious Graduates (1995), Italians (1996), The Mayor (1996) and Camere da letto (1997).
Also in 1997, the alluring Cucinotta made her first English-language debut with the Frank Rainone-helmed A Brooklyn State of Mind, a crime/drama she costarred with Vincent Spano, Danny Aiello, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Tony Danza and Jennifer Esposito. Although the film was not a massive hit, Cucinotta’s promising portrayal as Italian journalist Gabriela won her a New York International Independent Film & Video Festival for Best Actress in a Dramatic Feature. The same year, she also took on roles in TV movies Solomon and The Fourth King.
After teaming up with Michael and Virginia Madsen in Ballad of the Nightingale (1998) and starring as Anna in the comedy La Seconda moglie (1998), Cucinotta earned her next international exposure with a small, but memorable, turn as merciless killer Julietta the Cigar Girl in the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough (1999), starring Pierce Brosnan. She kept on her small screen presence with roles in Padre papà (1998), In punta di cuore (1999) as well as “Avvocato Porta, L” (1999). She also guest starred in one episode of “Wildside” (1998) and “The Sopranos” (1999).
Following a lead in Italian-produced TV movie Mary Magdalene (2000), Cucinotta had her next American projects with the Sharon Stone and Woody Allen comedy vehicle Picking Up the Pieces (2000) for director Alfonso Arau and Alan Jacobs’ comedy Just One Night (2000), opposite Timothy Hutton. She then held her own with fine acting in Stregati dalla luna (2001), Strani accordi (2001) and the series “Bello delle donne, Il” (2002, as Rosy Fumo), and in 2003, she appeared on TV with the made-for-TV film Marcinelle.
2004-2005 saw performances in Vaniglia e cioccolato (2004, as Penelope), the comedy Our Italian Husband (2004, along side Brooke Shields and Chevy Chase), Miracolo a Palermo! (2005), the drama All the Invisible Children (2005, appeared as a bartender) and the animated series “The Simpsons” (2005, voiced of Francesca). Cucinotta is set to portray Caterina in upcoming Italian thriller Fly Light (2006), opposite Flavio Bucci and Nathalie Caldonazzo.
- New York International Independent Film & Video Festival: Feature Film Award, Best Actress in a Dramatic Feature, A Brooklyn State of Mind, 1997