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Episode 023: Peter Arpesella -- Actor/Writer (And former Investment Banker -- yes, really)
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What we cover: Despite being groomed to take over the family business, Italy’s famed Grand Hotel of Rimini, Peter Arpesella knew life had other things in store for him. But what kind of courage does that take? To face not only your family, but more importantly, yourself – and say some version of: “Thank you for loving me. But thank you, more than anything, for respecting my need to be free.”
After getting a degree in business and finance and working as an investment banker, he would ultimately leave the life he knew, and buy a one-way ticket to the United States. Today he is an actor, a voice actor, a voice coach, a screenwriter, an author – and just an all-round truly authentic, genuinely happy person. He embodies that quality that I admire more than anything in anyone – and that is he is self-made.
Peter was raised surrounded by opulence, prestige, privilege. His parents were the quintessential socialite couple, gracing the covers of glossy lifestyle magazines. He was a little boy, running the gorgeous corridors of the stunning Grand Hotel Rimini; a 5-star destination that saw a non-stop stream of upscale guests come through its doors. It was the location of Federico Fellini’s classic film Amarcord. For his family, it was a life that was all about the quest for the appearance of perfection. And Peter never felt right about it. He knew something more meaningful was missing.
When he was in his early 20s, it was revealed that his father -- who Peter learned was living in what he calls a “castle of lies” -- was a drug addict. Despite appearances to the contrary, his father was heavily in debt and would go on to take his own life, leaving Peter and his family to band together to rebuild. Peter went from extreme wealth to extreme hardship, and he rose to the challenge. After he did what he needed to do, he got his family back on their feet, and he knew it was time for Peter to rescue Peter. And after being moved by a particularly emotional scene in the DeNiro film A Bronx Tale, Peter packed his bags and headed to the US, to be an actor.
Peter has worked with the likes of Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, and Tom Cruise. And we talk about that. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to know what it would be like to work with these legends of the industry? Peter's next film appearance is in Live by Night -- written by, directed by, and starring Ben Affleck -- and it opens in theatres end-2016 into early-2017.
Peter became an American citizen only about 6 weeks before we chatted. This episode is posting on Election Day, November 8, 2016, as a tribute to him. (He proudly voted for Hillary, of course.)