From Scratch cast: who’s in Netflix series with Zoe Saldana and Eugenio Mastrandrea based on Tembi Locke book?
The From Scratch series stars Avatar actor Zoe Saldana as the main protagonist alongside a host of other familiar faces
Netflix’s new drama series From Scratch has already made its way to the top ten global shows, pulling on the heartstrings of viewers across the world in this love story with actor Zoe Saldana returning to the screen.
The story follows Amahle "Amy" Wheeler, an American student studying in Italy, who meets and falls in love with Lino, a Sicilian chef. When Lino faces health issues and the couple’s future is threatened, the two families come together. The eight-episode romantic drama is actually based on actress and author Tembi Locke’s 2019 memoir of the same name, who wrote about meeting and falling in love with Italian chef, Rosario ‘Saro’ Gullo.
Tragically, Gullo was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and died in 2012. Hence, Locke co-created the series with her sister, Attica Locke, who is also the author of the critically-acclaimed thriller Bluebird, Bluebird.
But who are amongst the cast?
Who is in the From Scratch cast?
Saldana, who is the 10th highest-grossing actor of all time thanks to starring roles in Star Trek, Avatar, and Guardians of the Galaxy, happens to be fluent in Italian. She grew up in a multilingual household, which is why she can speak English, Spanish, Italian, and French. As Amy, we meet her in her early-to-mid twenties in the show when she has just arrived in Florence to study in an art programme.
Alongside the 44-year-old Saldana, her love interest is played by Italian actor Eugenio Mastrandrea, who in reality, is fairly new to the acting scene. The 28-year-old plays Lino Ortolano, a brilliant chef, who is based on Locke’s late husband. Speaking to Netflix’s in-house news site Tudum, Mastrandrea said he felt pressure taking on the role. He said: “I felt responsible to carry the story on my shoulders.” He also explained how there was “strange overlap between himself and his character Lino.
“This is something I haven’t told [the Lockes] before, but I felt a connection when I read the script”, he said, adding “I put a lot of myself in the building of the character, brick by brick”. Mastrandrea was born in Rome and is a native speaker of Italian and Spanish. Mastrandrea graduated from the Silvio D’amico National Academy of Dramatic Art of Rome.
Danielle Deadwyler plays Amy’s older sister Zora Wheeler, who lets Amy and Lino stay with her when they move to Los Angeles. She plays a schoolteacher who supports her sister’s artistic dreams when the rest of her family struggles to understand, and she also builds a wonderful life for herself. Deadwyler recently starred in the HBO Max miniseries Station Eleven and the Netflix Western The Harder They Fall. She previously appeared in the series P-Valley, Watchmen, and Paradise Lost.
The Emmy winner and Tony Award-nominated actor Keith David plays Amy’s father in the series. Herschel is a proud Texas cowboy, who wants Amy to follow in his footsteps with a stable law career. Though he doesn’t understand her decision to pursue an art career, he can’t deny her and Lino’s happiness and comes to see Lino as a son. David was recently seen acting as Otis Haywood Sr. in Jordan Peele’s Nope, but has featured in Armageddon, There’s Something About Mary, Requiem for a Dream, and Barbershop.
Kellita Smith plays the role of Lynn Wheeler, who is Amy’s mother. Her New Age parenting style isn’t always her daughters’ cup of tea, but she is a devoted mother and a devout vegan. She is best known for her character Wanda McCullough in the smash-hit series The Bernie Mac Show. But she was in a host of 90’s hit shows including Sister, Sister, Moesha, and The Jamie Foxx Show.
Judith Scott stars as Amy’s stepmother Maxine Wheeler. She helps steer the Wheeler’s complicated family dynamics and encourages Hershel to rethink about what makes Amy happy and what she wants in life. You might have seen her on Dexter, Dear White People, The Santa Clause and Guess Who.
Lucia Sardo portrays Lino’s mother, Filomena, who reluctantly follows her husband’s lead in keeping with the traditions of their close-knit Sicilian community. Sardo was born in Francofonte on the island of Sicily, and has been nominated for Italian critics’ awards for her roles in the films One Hundred Steps and Alone with Her Dreams.
Paride Benassai plays Giacomo, a proud Sicilian patriarch and farmer who’s dismayed when his son Lino branches off on his own. And when Lino weds a foreigner, he tells him, “I have no son.” A playwright, director and actor, he’s starred in Shakespeare’s La Tempesta, Pirandello’s Liolà and many of his own works.
Is the book From Scratch a true story?
As mentioned above, From Scratch is based on the true story of Tembi Locke’s relationship with her late husband Rosario ‘Saro’ Gullo. From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home is Locke’s own love story looking at the transformative cross-cultural relationship she had with Gullo, and about how one woman discovered the healing powers of food, family and unexpected grace in her darkest hour.
In Locke’s own words, the book tracks her relationship through three summers spent in the Sicilian countryside. We see the couple’s initial introduction on the streets of Florence, Italy, their move to Los Angeles as they forge a life together despite disapproval from Gullo’s traditional Sicilian parents, and the rare illness that upends everything they thought they knew about family and forgiveness. It is a New York Times bestseller and Reese’s Book Club pick. The author is co-creator of the series and serves as its executive producer.
In a statement on Instagram, Locke said Gullo had died ten years ago this year, and that “May the inspiration of your life be a light in the darkness”.
In 2002, Gullo was diagnosed with a rare form of soft-tissue cancer. She cared for her husband for 10 years, but the diagnosis didn’t stop the couple from fulfilling their biggest dream. Speaking to the Today programme, she said: “Zoela came to us during that time,” Locke said of her adopted daughter. “And I think one of the things that I learned is life is still happening all around us and for us, we’d always wanted to be parents.”
Watch the Limited Series now on Netflix.