“I’m down and Dirty with Everything!”

It is deliciously ironic that fans of Gilles Marini know him best for the role of Samantha’s hot, often nude, playboy-of-a-neighbor in the 2008 movie “Sex and the City.”  My interview with Marini revealed him as so much more than just the latest Adonis: He is no “here today, gone tomorrow,” Hollywood heartthrob. Marini is, in fact, a devoted, down-to-earth family man: a grateful, hard working and talented actor who just happens to be beautiful. And so it goes: The actor is so much more than the part he plays.

“Let’s do it, baby!” Marini exclaims as we start the interview. We’ve all taken note of his positive attitude and energy on “Dancing with the Stars” (DWTS).  Experiencing his enthusiasm first-hand, I am certain he wakes up every morning and shouts this to the dawn of a new day.

The sort of passion Marini exudes is not interpreted from a script. It is real and for all the right things. “Everything I do, I do it with my heart,” explains Marini, “I just don’t know how to do anything without passion.”  He shared details as a contestant on “Dancing With The Stars”; as well as what he desires for his next roles – and some things most don’t know about his home life.

Marini turns to me, looks into my eyes and says, “Sweetheart, I have passion with everything I do in my life. Let me explain.”

“Please do,” I ask, “and take your time to articulate what all this passion is about.” Sitting at the edge of my seat, my heart began to beat faster, eager to hear him recite something I would read in a love story. Better yet, being that I’m imaginative, all of a sudden, Marini is Dante and I, Samantha.

“I have chickens at my house.”  

“You have what?” I asked

“I have chickens. You know, little hens,” he describes to me as if I didn’t understand his French accent. “I have a chicken coop, a lot of fruits and vegetables in my garden, and I don’t have a gardener. It’s just my son and myself and we are taking care of them. Because I’m passionate with everything I do.”

The Marini estate includes rabbits in addition chickens, along with “20 different fruits and vegetables,” planted in a sort of genteel farm squarely in the middle of L.A. “I’m down and dirty with everything!” he laughs, as if he suddenly realized the truth of his remark. “I’m kind of a farmer.”  

Vegetables and livestock aren’t the only loves he cultivates. He has nurtured the love and devotion he has for Carole, of 13 years and their two children. “My wife is the center of my world,” he says sincerely. “If I don’t have her, I would just not be able to do what I do. The only balance I have in my life is the kindness and the love my wife brings, and the stability my wife brings to this family. She is the pillar, the hero, of the family.”

While his personality makes him charming, it was his good looks and sex appeal that launched Marini’s career as Samantha’s sexy neighbor Dante in the first “Sex and the City.”  It was a role that – much to the delight of millions – required some lovemaking and nudity. I love acting as it gives me the ability to be someone else, and bring out emotions,” Marini  reveals, “I am just here to make people feel.”

Marini just completed two seasons of “Brothers and Sisters” on ABC as the handsome and charming Luc Laurent, a role he admits has been his favorite thus far. “Being able to work with Rachel Griffiths, Sally Fiends, Calista Flockhart, all those people were incredible to me. I had a blast and I learned a lot.”

As for his performance on “Dancing with the Stars”? “It’s probably the most uplifting thing I’ve ever done in my life as an artist,” Marini says.  Fortunately, he will be wowing millions of viewers once again with his moves on an all-new season. “I wish everybody could experience this. It’s exhilarating, it’s phenomenal! It was a blessing to be a part of this.”  

This season on “DWTS,” Marini was paired up with Peta Murgatroyd. “Everything I dreamed having in a partner I had with Peta,” he states. “She understands my dedication and my passion towards it (dancing).” However, it wasn’t enough as Marini has been eliminated. He clearly stated his disappointment and apologized to his fans because the win would have been for them, he tells me. “I really wanted the American audience to understand that I was not doing this for me. All the people that called for me, were extraordinary in my life because I felt the love,” Marini emotionally confesses, “We gave it our all.”

While Marini has wowed us with performances such as that of Dante “SATC” and others in “Modern Family,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Brothers and  Sisters,” and “Switched at Birth,” his new desires may end up taking him behind the camera next. “I think I want to start to produce more, create shows, and try directing,” Marini confides, smiling. Until then, acting – and the family ranch – are his raison d’etre. “I’m reading scripts everyday. I really want to have something that is meaningful, that is deep, and different than what I have done before.”

So we find that Marini is not just another pretty face:  He’s an accomplished actor; a humble and devoted family man – who raises chickens – and is a new citizen to the United States. “I’m an American actor with a French accent,” he proudly states. “I came here with no English, with absolutely nothing. And now, doing what I do today, I am more than thankful. It’s a miracle.”

For more on Gilles Marini, visit his Web site: www.gillesmarini.com

 

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