Margaret Mazzantini

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Margaret Mazzantini
Margaret Mazzantini.jpg
Born (1961-10-27) October 27, 1961 (age 52)
Dublin, Ireland
Other names Margaret Donnelly
Occupation Writer, actress
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Sergio Castellitto (1987–present) 4 children

Margaret Mazzantini (born 27 October 1961) is an Italian writer and actress. She became a film, television and stage actor, but is best known as a writer. Mazzantini began her acting career in 1980 starring in the cult horror classic Antropophagus, she has also appeared in television and theatre. As a successful writer her novels include Non ti muovere (Don't Move) which was adapted into a film of the same name and is directed by her husband Sergio Castellitto and stars Penélope Cruz. Her career as a writer and actress has earned her several awards and nominations including Campiello Awards, a Golden Ticket Award, and a Goya Award.

Early life[edit]

Mazzantini was born in Dublin, Ireland to Carlo Mazzantini, an Italian writer and artist, and Anne Donnelly, an Irish artist. She spent her childhood around Europe, Spain, and Tangier, until the family settled in Tivoli. In 1982 she graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome.


Acting career[edit]

Writing career[edit]

Mazzantini's first literary book came in 1994, “Il catino di zinco” (The zinc basin). It won the prestigious Selezione Campiello and Opera Prima Rapallo-Carige awards. However her breakthrough success as a novelist only came with “Non ti muovere” (Don’t move) which was published in 2001 and sold over 1.5 million copies as well as winning one of Italy’s highest literary awards, the Premio Strega. Soon after, the novel was adapted into a film and starred Mazzantini’s husband, Sergio Castellitto, and Penelope Cruz.[1]

The secon novel by Margaret Mazzantini that was adapted into a movie was Twice Born.[2] Movie starred Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch[3] It is a novel filled with memories of the four-year siege of Sarajevo. It starts with the main character, Gemma boarding a flight from her native Rome to the war-scarred city with her sixteen-year-old son, Pietro. Twenty-four years after her fateful meeting with Diego in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gemma, the main character travels again to Sarajevo and into her past, wanting to show Pietro, her sixteen year old son the country of his birth and where his father died. Mazzantini expertly weaves together her characters' stories, jumping backwards and forwards in time and place, from Italy to Sarajevo as the brutality of the Bosnian war melds with the beauty and complexity of Gemma and Diego's passionate romance.[4] Mazzantini wrote the novel in seven years and said of the novel "It is the story of a hard-sought maternity. Gemma, the protagonist, is unable to have children, so she goes through great pains to have a child in so many different ways. Her personal battle is fought while in the background a much larger war takes place.”[1]

Personal life[edit]

She married Sergio Castellitto in 1987. They have four children, Pietro (b. 1992), Maria (b. 1997), Anna (b. 2001) and Cesare (b. 2006). She lives in Rome.

In 2003, she was awarded the title of Knight Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on the initiative of President of the Republic.


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Antropophagus Henriette 'Rita' Credited as Margaret Donnelly
1982 La Voce English: The Voice
1988 Nulla ci può fermare
Il cuore di mamma Valeria
1989 L'assassina
1994 Quando le montagne finiscono Anna
1996 Festival Carla Melis
Il barbiere di Rio Silvia
1997 Il cielo è sempre più blu
1999 Libero Burro Caterina Clavarino
2004 Non ti muovere Ultima donna di questa storia Uncredited; also writer, English: Don't Move
Year Title Role Notes
1984 Un caso d'incoscienza Helga Television film
Un delitto Television film
1987 Il commissario corso Mini-series; episode: Senza Prove
1988 Lucas läβt grüβen Television film
Chéri Television film
1990 Una fredda mattina di maggio Lia Television film
1991 Un cane sciolto 2 Television film
Duel of Hearts Zara Television film
Le flic de Moscou Virginie 2 episodes: Meurtre au monastère, Crime sous hypnose


  • 1982: Ifigenia di Goethe
  • 1983-1983: Venezia salvata di T.
  • 1984-1985: La tre sorelle di Cechov (The Three Sisters of Cechov)
  • 1984-1985: L'onesto Jago di C.
  • 1984-1985: L'Alcade di Zalamea di Calderon de la Barca (The Goveror of Zalamea Calderon de la Barca)
  • 1985-1986: La Signora Giulia di Strindberg
  • 1986: Antigone di Sofocle
  • 1987: Faust di Goethe
  • 1987: Mon Faust di Paul Valéry
  • 1988: Bambino di Susan Sontag (Child of Susan Sontag)
  • 1989: Praga Magica-Valeria (Magic Prague-Valeria)
  • 1992-1993: A piedi nudi nel parco (Barefoot in the Park)
  • 1994: Colpi bassi (Low Blows)


Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2004: Nomination - David Award - Best Screenplay (for Don't Move shared with Sergio Castellitto)
  • 2005: Nomination - CEC Award - Best Screenplay, adapted (for Don't Move shared with Sergio Castellitto)
  • 2005: Nomination - Goya Award - Best Screenplay, adapted (for Don't Move shared with Sergio Castellitto)


External links[edit]