80s star Tami Stronach opens up about 'delightful' Giovanni Pernice in his film debut, Man and Witch

Virgin Radio

11 Jun 2024, 12:16

Tami Stronach and Giovanni Pernice

Credit: Getty

Strictly star Giovanni Pernice has been praised by his Man and Witch: The Dance of a Thousand Steps co-star Tami Stronach. 

The professional dancer, who has just been cut from the 2024 Strictly line-up, makes his movie debut in the indie fantasy flick, in which he shares the screen with Neverending Story legend Tami as well as Christopher Lloyd, Jennifer Saunders and Bill Bailey. 

Tami makes her big screen return 40 years after first starring as Childlike Empress in the 1984 childhood classic, and during an exclusive chat with virginradio.co.uk, the actress revealed what the now former Strictly Come Dancing star was like as he swapped the ballroom for a film set. 



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Discussing working with the Italian choreographer, Tami confessed: “He was delightful. He was so humble and attentive in rehearsal. He was funny, [we] had a great time dancing. 

“I was a dancer my whole life, as well as doing plays. I think that's something that's so special about art. When you have practised in the same sort of vein. It's just like a shorthand. So dancers, we get each other.”

Man and Witch, which had its world premiere in London earlier this month, is stuffed to the gills with top talent, with the likes of Eddie Izzard, Lord of the Rings’ Sean Astin, Fallout star Michael Emerson and comedian Reginal D. Hunter. 

On how they managed to bag Giovanni and the rest of the incredible cast, Tami explained: “I’m going to say magic because I don’t know. I keep pinching myself with our cast. I just feel like we had so much luck. 

“It was the pandemic, and some of the big talent hadn't worked for a while, and they're performers, they're actors. They want to tell stories, and they've been sitting around. So I think when they got my husband's [Greg Steinbruner] script - he stars in it, and acts in it too - I just believe they read the script and it was so fresh. 

“It wasn't something that an algorithm had spit out. It wasn't generated by AI. It was generated with a lot of heart, and they kind of fell for the language of the script. I chalk it up to our casting director, my husband's script and the pandemic.”

The retro feel and heartwarming tale behind Man and Witch helped convince Tami to make her Hollywood return. When The Neverending Story got a burst of new love after being referenced in Stranger Things, Tami knew it was the right time to ride the nostalgia wave and bring movies back to families. 

When discussing what encouraged her to make her movie comeback, the dancer revealed: “Telling stories is the oldest way that people come together and feel connected. I would add to that, that we need to share those stories. We need to be together. When you go to the theatre, it's a communal experience. When you go to the cinema, it's a communal experience. 

“When that person laughs, it's infectious, when that person cries, it's infectious. We feel the space. I just want to bring family movies and [bring] movie night back. I want kids to take their parents to movies. I want parents to take their kids to movies.  I think that's part of the nostalgia too.”

Keep up to date with the latest news on the release of Man and Witch on manandwitch.com