The Cast and Characters of HBO’s “My Brilliant Friend”

Title Card for My Brilliant Friend.
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The cast and characters of the HBO program My Brilliant Friend and a brief description of each character and their story (with spoilers).


Characters description and pictures used are changed as notable information is presented and better screenshots are taken. Especially if they represent their personality better.

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Ingrid Del Genio, Margherita Mazzucco, and Elisabetta De Palo As Elena

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Le Bambole (The Dolls)”

Who Is Elena

Elena is the lead character of My Brilliant Friend and through whose eyes and ears we are given any and all information. From what we learn in the first episode, she lives to be 60 years old, so no fear of death required, and as a kid, she was one of the brightest in her class. Also, we learn she had quite the crush on Nino, a boy in her community. It isn’t clear if, in the long run, they end up together.

Episode 4 Update

As a teenager, Elena struggles a bit with her physical appearance, due to pimples, and the boys she finds attractive seemingly not finding her alluring. However, with entering high school, she at least has her academic prowess to build up how she feels about herself. Even if, as she did throughout her younger years, struggle before she became top of her class.


Ludovica Nasti & Gaia Girace As Lila

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Le Bambole (The Dolls)”

Who Is Lila

Vibrant, rebellious, a bit of a time boy, uninhibited and highly intelligent, Lila seems like the type of girl who would have excelled if born in a later era. However, with being born before the feminist movement and the modern rights many women enjoy, she seems stifled. Yet, as the child we are introduced to in episode one, it seems she lets very little hold her back – including fear.

Episode 4 Update

While long seperated from school, Lila remains a voracious reader to the point she still, at least when it comes to reading and writing, is ahead of Elena. However, unlike when they were children, Lila has no desire to compete with Elena in any shape or form. Her focus is upward mobility and knowledge. Something she hopes her brother, Rino, will be her partner in.


Valerio Laviano Saggese & Fabrizio Cottone As Alfonso

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Le Bambole (The Dolls)”

Who Is Alfonso

Alfonso is one of Don Achille’s children and is seen as one of the smartest boys in his class. He seems painfully shy and perhaps the black sheep of his family because of it. As of episode 4, that hasn’t necessarily changed.


Antonio Pennarella As Don Achille

Don Achille (Antonio Pennarella) surprised to see Lila and Elena at his door.
Don Achille (Antonio Pennarella)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Le Bambole (The Dolls)”

Who Is Don Achille

Don Achille is a notorious loan shark and shadowy figure. He is someone people don’t talk about often and hold a fearful respect towards. Even children know to fear him and his son Stefano uses this to his advantage. Well, he tries to anyway.


Kristijan Di Giacomo & Giovanni Amura As Stefano

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Le Bambole (The Dolls)”

Who Is Stefano

Don Achille’s son, and Alfonso’s older brother, exemplifies the fear and intimidation his father is known for. Something even girls like Lila aren’t safe from for just her making his brother feel a certain type of way leads her to be smacked around. Especially when he hears her smart mouth.

Episode 4 Update

Despite how he was as a child, it seems with age came maturity. Perhaps the idea of community as well as it seems he wishes for himself, and his family, to be seen as the opposite of the Solara family than the other horn of evil.


Alessandro Nardi & Francesco Serpico As Nino

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Le Bambole (The Dolls)”

Who Is Nino

Nino is a young man who is one of the top two students of his class, and Elena has a huge crush on him. Seemingly, he has feelings for her too since he claims he is going to marry her and asks, until that time comes, if they can date. Unfortunately, because of his father’s actions, he moves away and jeopardizes this future he planted in Elena’s head.

Episode 10 Update

Nino, as a teenager, continues to be quite the academic, and even has become a writer. However, not like his father, he doesn’t find much value in poetry. Instead, he is more of a journalist.


Vincenzo Vaccaro & Giovanni Buselli As Enzo

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Enzo

Enzo isn’t the smartest of guys, surely his family isn’t rich by any sense of the word. However, he has a decent heart. In fact, it seems he’d love for his heart to belong to Lila but she doesn’t take him seriously at all.


Dora Romano As Maestra Oliviero

Maestra Oliviero (Dora Romano) looking at her classroom.
Maestra Oliviero (Dora Romano)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Maestra Oliviero

She is Elena and Lila’s teacher who is quite astounded and impressed by Lila’s intelligence. However, once she realizes she might be the only one truly invested, because Lila’s parents can’t afford to further her education, she puts Elena against her – since her family makes a way.


Gennaro Canonico As Alfredo

Alfredo (Gennaro Canonico) being taken away after, likely, being assumed to be a murderer.
Alfredo (Gennaro Canonico)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Alfredo

He is the father of one of Elena and Lila’s classmates who used to be a locally well-known carpenter until he took a loan out from Don Achille. Once that happened, he basically lost everything when he couldn’t pay it back and publicly cursed the man. Something the Solara family might have taken advantage of.


Tommaso Rusciano & Gennaro De Stefano As Rino

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Rino

Rino is Lila’s big brother who, whether we are talking about her as a kid or a middle-aged woman, cares deeply and worries about his sister. In fact, he might be one of the few who supports and encourages her education and to be who she is. Even if it rubs some the wrong way.

Episode 10 Update

During his teen years, Rino is no longer as supportive of his sister as he once was. In fact, he finds her brilliance annoying for it comes with her stubborness. Leading to them often fighting, including him calling her a b****, as well as siding with their father more and more.


Antonio Buonanno As Fernando

Fernando (Antonio Buonanno) yelling at Lila about her wanting to go to middle school.
Fernando (Antonio Buonanno): I don’t want to hear anymore about middle school!

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Fernando

Lila’s dad, and a local shoemaker, Fernando is old school. Also, he is stressed out since he is using his business to support his kids, his wife’s parents, and his unwed sister. Making him not always on edge but with a daughter like Lila, being calm, cool, and collected sometimes is difficult. Especially since she isn’t one to take no for an answer.


Valentina Acca As Nunzia

Nunzia (Valentina Acca) telling the maestra that her family can't afford to get Lila tutoring.
Nunzia (Valentina Acca): I’m sorry, we can’t afford it.

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Nunzia

Lila’s mom, and Fernando’s wife, she is very traditional in the sense of her being a quiet woman who doesn’t like rocking the boat too much. Whether that is due to being afraid of her husband isn’t clear.

Episode 10 Update

One of the reasons why Fernando is so upset in life, and Nunzia doesn’t speak out against him, is that she is too frail to work. With that, she lacks notable power in their household.


Luca Gallone As Vittorio

Vittorio (Luca Gallone) talking to Lila about school.
Vittorio (Luca Gallone): Without the teacher’s help you won’t make it?

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Vittorio

Vittorio is Elena’s father who is a bit more progressive than Lila’s dad Fernando. While certainly not better off than him, he is willing to support Elena’s education. Especially since she is an A student. However, like Fernando, Vittorio can be violent. For Fernando, his act of violence is throwing Lila out the window. As for Vittorio? It is smacking his wife, Immacolata, when she frustrates him and, when she pushes him to, beating Elena to the point of giving her a black eye.


Annarita Vitolo As Immacolata

Immacolata (Annarita Vitolo) looking at Elena.
Immacolata (Annarita Vitolo)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Soldi (The Money)”

Who Is Immacolata

Elena’s mother who seems to hate the fact her husband supports Elena going to school. One reason being that she could use the help, since Elena is one of her oldest – if not the oldest. Another reason could be that her father is willing to work harder to afford Elena’s education but seemingly other things the family could use, that doesn’t inspire him to find ways to make more cash.


Elvis Esposito As Marcello Solara

Marcello (Elvis Esposito) being threatened by Lila
Marcello (Elvis Esposito)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 3 “Le Metamorfosi (The Metamorphoses)”

Who Is Marcello

Arguably, Marcello is the future head of the Solara family. He is also a big-time flirt and seems to think he can have his way with any girl in the neighborhood. Including Lila who, as shown above, does not like him what so ever.


Alessio Gallo As Michele Solara

Michele (Alessio Gallo) coming out the car since Lila has a blade to his brother's throat.
Michele (Alessio Gallo)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 3 “Le Metamorfosi (The Metamorphoses)”

Who Is Michele

Michele is Marcello’s muscle. He doesn’t say much, but whatever Marcello asks of him to do, he does as told. Consider the way he acts similar to how Stefano did as a child. Just with less words.


Eduardo Scarpetta As Pasquale

Pasquale (Eduardo Scarpetta) in awe.
Pasquale (Eduardo Scarpetta)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 3 “Le Metamorfosi (The Metamorphoses)”

Who Is Pasquale

Paquale is Alfredo’s son who thinks his father’s alleged murder of Don Achille was justified. He also is a communist and has a crush on Lila. In fact, of all the guys in the neighborhood, he may have the best chance with her since he knows things she doesn’t, is a good dancer, and is passionate in ways the other guys aren’t.


Riccardo Palmieri As Gino

Gino (Riccardo Palmieri) asking Elena out.
Gino (Riccardo Palmieri)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 4 “Le Smarginatura (Dissolving Margins)”

Who Is Gino

The son of a pharmacist and Elena’s first boyfriend. Though she only dated him to have a boyfriend before Lila, not out of love.


Emanuele Valenti Plays Donato

Donato (Emanuele Valenti) laughing.
Donato (Emanuele Valenti)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 6 “Lisola”

Who Is Donato

Donato is Nino’s father and since leaving the neighborhood has become a famous writer. Unfortunately, he is also a bit of a womanizer and also a rapist. He sexually assaults Elena and it seems he believes him making people laugh and happy counteracts his rash and disgusting actions.


Nunzia Schiano Plays Nella

Nella (Nunzia Schiano) smiling towards Elena.

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 6 “Lisola”

Who Is Nella

Nella is Elena’s host one summer and she owns a little home which she rents out part of to make ends meet.


Christian Giroso Plays Antonio

Antonio (Christian Giroso) at the beach.
Antonio (Christian Giroso)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 7 “Fidanzati (The Fiances)”

Antonio is the oldest son of Melina and also becomes Elena’s second boyfriend. He is a mechanic by trade and is a bit handsy, a little frisky, but is useful to Elena when it comes to dealing with Donato.


Antonio Milo Plays Silvio

Silvio (Antonio Milo) checking out Fernando's shop.
Silvio (Antonio Milo)

First Noted In: Season 1/ Episode 7 “Fidanzati (The Fiances)”

The head of the Solara family isn’t too happy with Lila and Fernando for breaking Marcello’s engagement with Lila. He even threatens the shop that Fernando has, that is being expanded by Stefano. Yet, when there is money to be made, bygones are bygones and he sets aside his differences for greater income.


How each character’s story ends each season is on page 2 – Spoilers!

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About Amari Sali 3366 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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