11:00am Sunday 15th April 2012
STRONGMAN turned actor Sebastian Abbatiello has appeared in about 30 Hollywood blockbusters over the years.
He is perhaps best known for his appearance in Oscar-winning film Gladiator and has appeared in a variety of other films from Revolver to children’s film Tooth.
After appearing in many box office smashes, Mr Abbatiello suffered a personal tragedy when his son of the same name was killed in a motorcycle accident in August 2009.
For a while, Mr Abbatiello stayed away from the spotlight and has only returned for special appearances. But when he was asked to appear in Martin Scorcese’s Hugo he decided to take the role.
The film has gone on to great success and has become Mr Abbatiello’s second involvement with an Oscar-winning film.
Mr Abbatiello, aged 52, of Pinvin, near Pershore, said: “The movie sets are incredible, you feel as if you are in a different world. I really enjoy doing the films.”
The former British strongman held the title for 10 years and is often cast in roles because of his stature. “I am quite well known for the parts I play.
If there’s a part of a strongman in Britain, I normally do it.
“I have done a lot of TV as well, playing parts like mafia bosses, hit men or bodyguards. I’m a big guy at 19 stone and I look quite mean, so I get some good parts.”
His latest part saw Mr Abbatiello come face-toface with legendary director Martin Scorcese.
“When I met Martin Scorcese I was surprised by how small he is. You expect them to be big. Ridley Scott was a big guy.
“When I shot my scene in Hugo it was absolutely freezing and I had a strongman outfit on. It was minus eight or nine. I had moccasins on and they had a heater for my feet.
“But we were supposed to be in a summer scene and it was hard to act like it was warm.
“We were doing a side show in the circus in one of his flashbacks in Hugo.
I was only there for that scene, which is nice.
“When I did Gladiator I was there for months.”
Over the years Mr Abbatiello has met some famous people and has some fascinating stories to tell about each one.
“I have met some really famous people,” he said.
“I enjoy meeting them but I don’t get star-struck.
“When I was on Revolver this woman came over to me and gave me hug and a kiss. She was wearing a bomber jacker. I asked one of the guys who was that and they said ‘Madge’. I said ‘Madge who?’ and they said ‘Madonna’. I really liked Russell Crowe and I hung around with David Hasselhoff.
Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham from Revolver were nice as well.
“Another time, I was walking back with Kevin Costner to the trailer and my friend called.
“He didn’t believe I was with him so Kevin ended up chatting to him on the phone. I have collected the call sheets of the films I have appeared in and they tell you everything about the day.”
Mr Abbatiello has a number of parts over the next few months.
“I love doing the movies but I don’t do it for the money,” he said.
“I just love being on the sets in front of the camera.”
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