In case you haven’t been swayed by the delights of Emily In Paris already, the new Netflix show follows sassy dresser and savvy social media expert, Emily – played by GLAMOUR favourite, Lily Collins – as she navigates being, well, an American in Paris, a bitchy boss and her developing feelings for her neighbour and local chef, Gabriel.
2020 has been the year of pandemics. First there was Covid-19. Then everyone caught the feels for Normal People’s Paul Mescal and a chain reaction ensued. Now the internet is being infected with a brand new Netflix obsession, Emily In Paris – and at the beating heart of this obsession is Emily’s love interest and neighbour, Gabriel, played by Lucas Bravo.
Emily isn’t the only one falling for the pull of Gabriel’s dishes, as the internet has erupted in praise of Netflix’s new leading man and do you want to know the best bit? He’s even more charismatic in real life.
Here, Lucas Bravo talks masculinity, redefining the ‘leading man’ stereotype and how he went from bathing in a remote mountain river to starring in Netflix’s biggest show in the space of a week…
It’s pretty amazing because I am in Budapest at the moment, shooting my new movie. I got here two days before the show came out and I was quarantined so I couldn’t see anybody. The only human interaction I had was a doctor coming to my door and swapping my nose and coming back at 7am the next day. I knew when we shot it we were super proud of the project but I didn’t expect the show to get such a positive reaction. I feel like people really needed something to escape with, that was light-hearted and had travel. The reaction has been very humbling.
For everyone there was this pressure to keep doing stuff that was productive and I actually felt the urge to cut myself some slack and sleep when I wanted to sleep, eat what I wanted to eat and not feel pressured to do Yoga classes online. I thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity whilst the whole world was on hold to put myself on hold and recharge. I basically let go.
Everyone has fallen in love with Gabriel. For you, how did you make this character a modern leading man and not let him fall into the gas lighting super macho leading men we are used to seeing?
The part is already a ‘boy next door’ so I wanted to start from the place of love, find his backup story and what he has been through up until he meets Emily. I found he is just a lost French boy in Paris who wants to make it on his own but he doesn’t have the tools to accomplish what he wants to accomplish. He is completely emasculated by his girlfriend, Camille and he’s not communicating with her.
When Emily arrives on his doorstep it’s an escape, it’s a new option when he’s running out of options. The fact he’s even cheating on Camille is testament to the fact he is choosing his happiness over his principles. He’s just really lost when the show begins and that’s what I wanted to explore, being lost in this world which is a reality as our generation is pretty lost, you know?
100 percent! When have you felt lost in your own life?
As an actor you choose to be lost your entire life. You flirt with rejections, doors being closed on you – it’s a hard path and you are constantly putting yourself into question. I’ve always wanted to do this and there are times when friends of yours give up, you aren’t getting somewhere and I put that into Gabriel. That feeling of not knowing, going with the flow and hoping for the best as that is what he is doing at that moment, even though he feels miserable.
What does masculinity mean to you sitting here in a 2020 world?
I don’t really like that word, I don’t like the word men or the phrase, ‘be a man.’ That doesn’t mean anything to me. I think that is the word that really drives us away from our sensitivity. It’s like being a man is being ashamed of being sensitive or being connected with your inner woman because we are both, part man and woman, and you need to embrace that contrast and navigate both of them. Masculinity isn’t something I navigate with, I just try to listen to my instincts as much as possible and just treat people the way I want to be treated.
The camaraderie between the characters on screen is amazing – Ashley Park (Mindy) told me you had quite the hoot off screen, too. How special was that bond on set and what did the cast teach you about yourself?
Everyone brought something different. With Lily she is so professional, she has this discipline and consistency and I was learning every day with her. Ashley has this ability to connect with everybody, she doesn’t think, she just goes in and makes her own soup and then thinks! She connected everybody on set and I think she’s the reason everybody after just three weeks of filming was just so happy to come to work every day. We became roomies! I moved in and the rest was chaos
What is your fondest memory from filming season one?
To be honest it was before it even started. I had gone to the mountain after auditioning, I wanted to let go of Gabriel and I didn’t want to expect too much and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I got lost in the mountains in Corsica with horses, bathing in the river and hiking. That’s when they called me, my uncle had to ride for an hour to get service, told me to come down from the mountain and we were a week away from starting shooting. I was then in Paris entering that room with Darren Starr, Lily, the director and the producers. I had went from total shepherd mode to Paramount it here, Darren Starr is here, Lily is here, ‘don’t fuck this up!’
I really hope he is going to get his own restaurant. I hope Antoine is going to back him for a different restaurant with different food where he can really blossom. Relationship wise I wouldn’t want to touch Darren’s writing as that is what he does, I wouldn’t want to stipulate too much but I feel like we have left it open with Emily, Camille and I. I don’t want to say too much but I think we have a few roads to explore.
Emily In Paris is available on Netflix now