NEW YORK — Gilles Marini has made a name for himself in Hollywood, thanks to roles on ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth” and “Brothers & Sisters,” and competing on “Dancing With the Stars.”
The 36-year-old was born in France but didn’t make his acting debut until he was 29 and living in the U.S.
“I’m an American product,” Marini said. “I never worked a day in my life in France in this business. It’s funny because my wife said not long ago, ‘Oh, you are French but you are an American actor.’ And now an American citizen. ... It’s funny. Everything has been done in America.”
While Marini would like to make a film in France and cites French filmmaker Luc Besson as someone he would like to work with, he says it’s not necessary to his career.
“Don’t forget 90 percent of the actors in France, their dream is to come here. I’m here. Why go back, you know? Except if it’s a project that would matter,” he said.
On “Switched at Birth,” Marini plays Angelo Sorrento, the father of a teenage daughter who was switched in the hospital as a newborn with another baby. The two teens grew up in very different environments.
There’s more to the show than its soap opera sounding-title. Some of the other characters are deaf, and their scenes are performed using American Sign Language with open-captioning.
The series, which also stars D.W. Moffett and Lea Thompson, will air an all-sign-language episode in March, told from the perspective of its deaf characters.
Marini thinks “Switched” is helping both hearing and deaf people understand each other better.
“It’s brilliant. ... I think the show changes a lot of people’s perspectives,” he said.
“Switched at Birth” airs Mondays at 8 p.m.
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