Many know Lucas Bravo as Gabriel from the hit Netflix show Emily in Paris. But since playing the charming chef, Bravo is slowly stepping out of the TV and venturing into films. Last year, the French actor was busy filming Emily in Paris and promoting Ticket to Paradise, The Honeymoon, and Mrs Harris Goes to Paris. And he’s just getting started!
Bravo was recently in Hong Kong as a presenter for this year’s Asian Film Awards. With his tall stature and head-turning presence, Bravo was hard to miss during the red carpet and award ceremony. But it’s not just the fans who are gushing about the actor, as Bravo himself has plenty to be excited about—and he’s shared all that with us.
In an exclusive interview, we sat down with the actor to talk about his time in Hong Kong, his love for cinema, and what’s keeping him busy.
Tell us about your first impressions of Hong Kong.
I love it. Everything is a discovery because it’s my first time. I went to the seaside (in Tsim Sha Tsui) and took the ferry in the morning. The food is great, as well as the people, the fashion, and the architecture. Since it’s my first time, everything feels new. It’s very exciting.
I’ve travelled a lot and I like to do extreme activities. So, I went around North America and then Africa, Europe, and now I’m starting here in Asia. You’re probably going to see a lot of me here. (laughs)
How was your experience at the Asian Film Awards?
It was surreal. One of my favourite movies is In the Mood for Love (2000). Knowing that Tony Leung was attending and nominated, I was like, “Oh, I’m going to run into one of my favourite actors!” Funny enough, he won twice, so I saw him at the after-party and told him that his film was my first awakening to Asian cinema. He was so kind, and he had a peaceful energy. He was looking me in the eyes and had a fabulous presence. It feels good to know that the people you admire are also wise. I also met all these other stars from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and these fantastic directors. So, it was quite a surreal experience.
What do you like about Asian films?
In the last decade, Asian cinema has been constantly bringing new stories while the rest of the world is remaking old movies. Asian cinema always comes out with fresh new stories so it’s very inspiring. These days, South Korea has been leading the way, from the screenplays to the details, even tackling issues that are sensitive especially in this weird climate. I love the stories that are bold and weird, sarcastic, and ironic which you only see in Asia nowadays. That’s why I think Asian cinema is the best so far.
Do you find any difference between French cinema and Asian cinema?
I think every cinema has its prime and ours was the New Wave from the 1960s to 1980s with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina. I feel that Asian cinema is in its prime right now. It’s not a question of difference but of timing.
If In the Mood for Love was your introduction to Asian cinema, what French films influenced you growing up?
There’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, which is one of the most beautiful films ever made in France. Gérard Depardieu plays this amazing character who thinks he’s too ugly to tell the love of his life that he loves her. So, he looks for a beautiful man but one who isn’t so smart. Turns out, that man is also in love with the same woman. Depardieu’s character tells the man to write love letters for him to give her. So, through this man, he’s able to indirectly express his love. For me, that’s one of the most beautiful stories ever written. That was my French awakening.
Speaking of characters, what do you like most about playing Gabriel in Emily in Paris?
I just love playing a nice guy. Every character is different on various levels, but Gabriel is purely a nice person. Of course, he makes mistakes like everyone else but in any situation, he’s always going to choose to act out of love. He’s not going to leave anybody behind because he’s always going to be a good person. I like this character because he makes people feel good.
You were busy last year with three new movie releases. What’s keeping you busy these days?
I’m about to start entering a tunnel of movies to film. But I’ve just bought a new apartment—my first one! And I’m just discovering the intricacies of furnishing an apartment. I spend most days looking for furniture like coffee tables in garage sales.
You have a love for romantic films. What other genres or roles are you keen to play?
I love everything, as long as it’s good. I’ve never liked the idea of “this is my favourite film, that’s my favourite song” because we’re complex human beings. It’s difficult to be defined by just one thing so I love everything as long as I connect with it.
Are there any particular directors that you’re looking to work with?
Xavier Dolan is one. I like the Safdie brothers, they did Good Time (2017) with Robert Pattinson. Wong Kar-wai and Hirokazu Koreeda too. There are just so many people as I’m thinking about it. Honestly, it just takes a movie to connect.
What message do you have for your fans in Hong Kong?
Since it was my first time in Hong Kong, I really had the opportunity to see how people connected. What I love most is that it’s the first place where people actually stopped me in the streets and called me by my name. I really appreciate that level of respect.
All around the world, I’ve had people call me Gabriel or sometimes Emily in Paris! I like how many people here connect with me and stop to say they’ve watched Ticket to Paradise or Emily in Paris. It’s a very well-connected crowd. I like how intellectual the conversation is with every person I’ve met.
Will we be seeing you again in Hong Kong?
It’s a short stay, I need a month! I’m also staying in a commercialised area, so I’d like to see a little more of Hong Kong. I like adventure and nature, so I’ll probably explore next time.
Lucas Bravo also shared a post on his Hong Kong visit. See below:
View this post on Instagram
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
(Featured and hero images credit: Carole Bethuel/Netflix)