Photo credit Bobby Quillard
German twin actresses Laura and Sarah Bellini are currently making waves in Hollywood, and it’s hard not to see why.
The two German-Italian actresses have always been stage performers, and in fact, they started filming at the tender age of ten by landing a number of leading and supporting roles for movies and television. Fast forward to today, and the “dynamic duo” is starring alongside TV and film veterans Donald Sutherland, Hillary Swank, and Brendan Fraser in FX’s electrifying, dramatic crime series, “Trust.”
Trust revolves around the lives of one of America’s wealthiest families, the Gettys. Told over multiple seasons and spanning the 20th century, the series begins in 1973 with the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, an heir to the Getty oil fortune, by the Italian mafia in Rome. On the face of it all, his grandfather didn’t seem interested at all in paying the ransom as he suspected the kidnapping was staged by his grandson to extract money from him. Laura and Sarah Bellini play the roles of the adventurous and fame hungry sisters Martine and Jutta who have managed to enter Getty’s life leading up to the actual kidnapping.
StarCentral Magazine recently sat down with the beautiful German twin actresses to find out more about them and here’s what went down.
1. How were you both actually ‘discovered’? A chance encounter on the street? Audition?
BOTH: When we were nine years old our mom took us to acting school. The day we arrived, they were having a performing arts contest at the school. We both entered and won the contest. Our prize was being accepted into their talent agency. Shortly after, we got our first audition for a lead in a TV feature film, and we both booked it because the director couldn’t decide between the two of us. Since day one on set, we knew this was what we wanted to do.
2. What do you both like most about acting?
Sarah: I love breaking down characters and finding humanity and love in them. I learn so much about humanity and life. I feel like I grow as a person understanding each character’s situation and choices. I love how acting makes me feel, the feeling is indescribable when I am truly connected to a character.
Laura: I love what impact a great performance can have on people’s lives. How it makes them feel. Great performances deeply touch, inspire, and empower me. It makes us feel alive. To me, it is beautiful as storytellers to remind people of important stories and relevant topics. And I think we as storytellers have the responsibility to do so.
3. Can you tell us about your roles in Trust?
Sarah: I’m playing Jutta Winkelmann, the twin sister of John Paul Getty III’s girlfriend Martine. She lives together with Martine and Paul in Rome like flower children. They all believe in this adventurous life full of free love, peace, and freedom. Excitement. Jutta’s taking advantage of the Getty name and his importance (to live a certain lifestyle – parties and drugs, hanging out with celebrities of that time like Fellini, Roman Polanski, The Rolling Stones, etc.) and she’s the one pushing Martine and Paul to extract money from his family. Putting him under a lot of pressure, she is influential in the course of the storyline.
Laura: My character is Martine who is the girlfriend and future wife of John Paul Getty III. She’s from Germany and lives with her identical twin sister Jutta and Paul in Rome. She’s someone who is very hungry for life and adventure; she enjoys Paul’s company and the advantages that come with the Getty name. She plays a big role in Paul’s decision to kidnap himself.
4. What sort of person is going to love your characters?
Sarah: I guess either people from that generation or young people that want to be more like her. Free and courageous.
Laura: I think anybody who loves adventurous characters and are supporters of the women empowerment movement would love our characters. Anyone who feels inspired by women who follow their dreams and fight for a better life will relate to them.
5. How are your characters like you? Different?
Sarah: Jutta is definitely very different from me, but we share the big love for our twin sister. She is hungry for life like me and moved across the world to accomplish her dream. I can relate to that.
Laura: Martine is a woman who goes after her dreams and moves away from her home to find a more exciting and adventurous life in Rome, something I can personally relate to. But she also has something very rebellious and revolutionary about her that excited me and challenged me. I immediately fell in love with her rebelliousness and her vision for a better life. She is a woman who followed her dreams and didn’t act according to society’s rules. She has a sensitivity and emotionality that I felt very connected to.
6. What’s the biggest challenge to taking on your roles?
Sarah: I guess finding the humanity in every role and truly loving that character. Even roles where you don’t necessarily agree with their actions and characters that are completely different from me. But that is challenging, and I love that!
Laura: The fact that Martine was a real-life character challenged me a lot. I had a lot of respect for that, and it made me feel intimidated. As actors, we want to tell the stories as accurately as possible but at the same time not offend the real-life person. But I love to feel challenged and grow as an actress.
7. Besides yourselves, which celebrities would you like to see tackle your characters?
Sarah: Jennifer Lawrence. Her work inspires me immensely.
Laura: Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman and maybe Tatiana Maslany.
8. Besides yourselves, which actors in this production are going to blow people away?
Sarah: I think every single actor on the show is so talented and did an amazing job. Working with Giuseppe Battiston and Harris Dickinson truly resonated with me.
Laura: Harris Dickinson for sure, he is so talented and perfect as John Paul Getty III. Luca Marinelli is incredible as the main mafia kidnapper. And Hilary Swank, of course, is amazing.
9. If you both could play any other character in this show, who would it be?
Sarah: I would probably want to be one of the Harem ladies or a big Mafia boss.
Laura: I would be curious to play one of the Mafiosi kidnappers or one of the harem ladies. Those are fun roles! But really, I love our characters best! LOL
10. What has been the most memorable experience of your careers so far?
Sarah: Shooting Trust has been a true privilege and a dream come true. But I feel like every project is memorable and teaches you something. I wouldn’t want to miss each step of the journey.
Laura: Definitely filming Trust. Working with all these incredibly talented professionals created one of the most memorable experiences for me. From the astounding historical locations in Rome to the amazing transformations the make-up and costume teams took us through. Every location and each set design was so detailed and well thought out which made it so much easier for us actors to imagine Rome and the lives of our characters at that time. Working with Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy was a dream come true for me. It was also a great learning experience to see all of these talented veteran actors at work, and they taught me so much about my craft.
11. Who have been the most interesting people you’ve both met so far?
Sarah: Probably crew members from different countries -some had the most interesting stories.
Laura: Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle. They are so talented and do their work with so much dedication and passion. It was amazing to watch them work.
12. What sort of marketing do you both do to make your image and brand more appealing to the audience?
Sarah: We work with a PR agency.
Laura: At the moment we are doing publicity for the show, and we are starting to learn how to use social media more! LOL
13. How active are you both on social media?
BOTH: We are both on Instagram, we are getting there but have never been the biggest fans of social media.
14. What is your favourite social media platform?
Sarah: Instagram. Follow me! @sarah_bellini
Laura: Instagram, I like the power of pictures. Follow me! @lalaurabellini
15. I’m guessing you’ve both been in the entertainment industry for a few years now, what has been the most valuable lesson you’ve both learned. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
Sarah: Be Yourself. Know your worth and your limits. You’re not going to end up happy trying to please everyone else but yourself.
Laura: Rejection. I think for me it is getting back up after a big rejection or bad critique. You have to learn how to use that to your advantage so that you can become better and stronger.
16. Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you both stayed grounded?
BOTH: We are very lucky to have an amazing family who supports us and always makes sure we know where we come from and what is meaningful in life.
17. What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
BOTH: We want to keep doing amazing parts that challenge us, educate us and make us grow as actresses. We want to keep telling stories that hopefully have an impact on a lot of people, that will move, inspire and empower others. Other than that, we try not to plan too far ahead and to take life as it comes. We enjoy the process and are excited to see where it will take us.
‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen:
Sarah: LADY BIRD
Laura: THE SHAPE OF WATER
2. What do you consider beautiful and why?
Sarah: People smiling. There are enough negativity and hate on this planet and seeing people smiling is beautiful to me.
Laura: A heartfelt, warm smile, it pours so much love into the world.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could?
Sarah: Taking a year off to travel the world.
Laura: Hmm… I guess bungee jumping.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…”
Sarah: Go bungee jumping!
Laura: Be friends with spiders.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself?
Sarah: My weakness for chocolate… ugh.
Laura: My addiction to chocolate.