Art & Photography

The Creators: Tommaso Colognese

From a small town in Italy to the hills of Hollywood, PA Tommaso Colognese explains his role in the world of film


Photographed in London by Joss McKinley

It’s a common story: growing up in a small town (in Italy), film was a way for me to glimpse the world outside. When I was a teenager, the director of a local film school sent me off to work on a set and from that moment on I wanted to stay. The best thing about working in film is that, with each project, you acquire a whole new family from whom you can always learn something new.

My first job after graduating from film school in LA was so bad I quit after three months, but the lure of the set soon brought me back. Behind the scenes it’s a lot less exciting than the DVD extras would have it, although it never fails to reward in some way. Admittedly I have been tempted to turn my back on film many times, but so far there’s always been a next project exciting enough to get me back on track.

Becoming a personal assistant was completely unplanned. I had just moved to London when I received a phone call from a colleague in Rome asking if I’d be interested in assisting an actor on a new film. Intrigued, I followed up and it turned out to be a position with Daniel Day-Lewis on Nine. It remains one of the most rewarding experiences of my career so far and has led to me working with several other amazing artists. Working closely with an artist while he or she is creating a character is a privileged position that can be very exciting, even though it also requires dealing with many of the more mundane aspects of the film process. A lot of coffee and good humour is required!

Tommaso has been a PA to Martin Scorsese, Daniel Day-Lewis, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio