Emily in Paris’ Lucas Bravo: ‘People either loved it or loved it to hate it’ | Movies

Lucas Bravo, the French actor who rose to fame in 2020 playing Gabriel, aka the “hot chef,” in Netflix’s Emily in Paris, would like to put some rumors to bed. The first concerns his bank balance. “I saw on the internet the other day that my net worth is $1 million,” he says in disbelief. “Imagine! We have this impression that we are only doing one project and that we have this visibility, and suddenly we have a house in the [Hollywood] hills and you’re set for life. Another is that before acting, her main job was modeling. Considering the thirst that erupted on social media when she first appeared in Emily in Paris, it doesn’t seem unlikely. “I’m not a model,” he says firmly. “My parents took me to an agency when I was 16, and I did a show for Paul Smith, but the experience wasn’t for me. Fashion was like a cold place and I was too sensitive for that.

Bravo, 34, lives in Paris, although he talks about a hotel in New York where, fresh from an appearance on American Chat, he wears a floral shirt. Against the floral wallpaper and matching floral curtains behind it, it looks like it has blended into the wall. “The shirt seemed like a good idea when it was given to me this morning, but I had no idea I was going to end up in this room,” he says anxiously. “That’s, uh, a lot of information.”

Bravo will appear in two films this month: the first, Ticket to Paradise, features George Clooney and Julia Roberts as warring exes, but when I ask him, he says explaining his role is like a huge spoiler, so he was sworn to secrecy. “That’s why I’m not in the trailer,” he said with a hint of sadness.

Lesley Manville and Lucas Bravo in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. Photograph: Liam Daniel/AP

He is, however, free to discuss the second project, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, a decidedly old-fashioned feel-good film set in the 1950s and starring Lesley Manville as a newly widowed housekeeper who longs to own a couture dress. Pursuing her dream, she must conquer the arrogant Parisian fashion mavens. Bravo plays André, a shy accountant who befriends her.

“I feel like this is the kind of lighthearted story we need right now,” Bravo says. “It’s about a woman operating out of love and trusting the universe. We often forget that this industry was invented for distraction and escapism, and that it’s fun to walk into a gym. cinema, to be transported and to switch off our brain for an hour or two.

He adds that it’s refreshing to see a woman in her sixties at the center of the story: “Beyond the misogyny of the time, it’s worth remembering that, in the 1950s, people of that age were considered end of life. their lives. Of course, the dress is really a metaphor, but she also wants the dress to have it. I like that about her, that she wants it just for her.

Bravo was thrilled to be cast not as “the boy next door,” as he describes his role in Emily in Paris, but as a real nerd. “André is an awkward loner,” he notes. “He wears a suit and glasses, and likes numbers. He is oblivious to social interactions. He’s the opposite of my character from Emily in Paris and I love that contrast.

Emily in Paris may not have made Bravo a millionaire, but it did make him hugely famous. The first series was streamed to 58 million households in its first month. “I am super grateful for what Emily in Paris has given me and for [series creator] Darren Star for giving me a chance,” he says. “So wherever the writing goes, I’m committed to it. I wouldn’t be here talking to you without it.

What about the criticism it received for its depiction of Parisians chain-smoking, drinking wine for breakfast, and letting their little dogs shit in the streets? Bravo is not embarrassed. “People loved him or loved to hate him,” he says. “I defend it not only because it’s my project, but clichés are often clichés because they are rooted in truth. Of course, they are amplified by Darren’s vision: everything is bigger, more sparkling and more colorful. But it’s his signature. It’s pure escapism, a fantasy world.

What might seem like an overnight success for Bravo is actually the result of more than 10 years of grafting. In his twenties, between appearing in commercials and playing minor roles on French television, he worked as a clothes salesman, waiter, bartender and supermarket shelf stacker. In the latter job, he would arrive at 6 a.m. and spend two hours arranging cookies on shelves.

Lily Collins and Lucas kudos to Emily in Paris.
Lily Collins and Lucas kudos to Emily in Paris. Photography: Stephanie Branchu / NETFLIX

When the role of Emily in Paris arrived, Bravo was working as a sous chef in real life. He says the new attention was disconcerting. “It took me probably two years to figure out what it was. They say the moment you become famous is the moment you stop growing because you start seeing yourself through other people’s eyes instead of going into your own experiences. But now I feel at peace. I have strong anchors in my life with friends I’ve known for decades and with my family, so anything outside of that doesn’t mean much to me.

Bravo has previously spoken about his discomfort at being called a heartthrob and defined by his looks. Does he always feel this way? “As an actor you want to be taken seriously and show your range,” he says after a pause. “You don’t want to be stuck in a niche. So when this very bubbly comedy-drama first came out, with this boy-next-door character, part of me felt like I was drifting away from my goal, which is to play tough roles. But that was my initial perception, and I think I projected that more than I experienced it. Now that I’ve done other jobs, I’ve been able to not take things too seriously.

Bravo comes across as a serious soul and admits he is guilty of overthinking. In a recent gap between filming commitments, he took himself on vacation. Where some people’s idea of ​​a break is to lie on a beach, Bravo’s was to visit the North Pole to watch scientists measure the effects of global warming. “I’ve always had a strong connection to the environment,” he says. “It’s different when you’re there and you can see it. We saw skinny polar bears as their hunting area is shrinking. You can feel the distress when you are there on the ground.

Lucas Bravo in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.
Lucas Bravo in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. Photograph: Liam Daniel/AP

While in Queensland filming Ticket to Paradise, he took the time to see the scenery and immerse himself in nature. “It seems like everything is trying to bite you or poison you. But I was so impressed with how connected Australians are to nature. Not in a hipster way – they just know everything about their surroundings. I I have always thought that education should be reviewed, and that instead of making us learn the dates of centuries-old battles, children should be taught to grow things, or to heal themselves with natural recipes.

Bravo’s fascination with cinema dates back to childhood. He watched horror movies “because I wanted to see if I was strong enough to get through the movie on my own. I watched Stephen King’s It when I was little and it traumatized me. My mom kept telling me, “Be careful what you feed into your brain,” and it took me a long time to figure out what she meant. But I know now that cinema is like food for the brain. What you ingest defines your creativity and how you perceive and interact with the world.

Her father is Daniel Bravo, a well-known French footballer, which means the family has moved around a lot. At 14, Bravo had already lived in Nice, Lyon, Monaco, Marseille and Parma in Italy. He says it was hard to lose friends over and over again. “I always rode the wave of being the new one. In my social interactions, I was a little extra, a little too much. I always thought: ‘I have to give everything to be accepted and fit in. this new group.’

Nevertheless, it made him adaptable, which served him well for his future career. Bravo was initially hesitant to play: “I saw a lot of people trying to get into it and I thought, ‘Why would I be better than them? “”Now he finds it therapeutic. “I love character research because it gives me the tools to research myself and understand myself,” he says. “It brings you back to a state of contemplation, which is the opposite of what this world is offering right now. That must be good, right?”

Mrs Harris goes to Paris is in cinemas from September 30; Ticket to Paradise is in theaters from September 16.

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