Lucas Bravo

Lucas Bravo Is in on the Joke

The 'Ticket to Paradise' star is ready to show that he’s more than just a Parisian heartthrob.

Crouched down on a studio floor, film camera in-hand, Lucas Bravo instructs his subject to “stare into the abyss of [his] meaningless existence” before snapping a photo. Two things come to mind while watching this transpire before me: one, despite his proficiency — “I’m a photographer,” he tells InStyle — this is supposed to be his photoshoot and two, Lucas Bravo is ... funny?

First introduced to the masses as a charismatic, sometimes shirtless, chef-next-door to Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins) in Netflix’s Emily in Paris, Bravo’s star rose practically overnight in late 2020. Millions of us sat on our couches, clutching a bottle of wine watching as his character, Gabriel, casually uttered phrases such as “la douche” and “no problem, bang anytime” turning Emily, and effectively all of us, into mush. This resurgence of appreciation for French culture — and specifically French men — sent group chats aflutter. American men could not compare.

Lucas Bravo

Jonny Marlow / Styled by Lucas Bravo.

Not to be a total buzzkill for those looking to whisk themselves away to a Parisian apartment and fall in love with the attractive French man downstairs, but Bravo chalks up a lot of the appeal of living in Paris to perception.

“If you wake up in the morning, read a few pages of a beautiful book, listen to a couple beautiful songs, go down in the street and start walking on the sidewalk, and just feel present enough to observe all the little beautiful details of life, you can find romance everywhere,” he explains. 

As for the flirtatious men? It’s just simply how French men operate — sometimes to the disappointment of an interested party. “It's part of the culture to be in this constant seductive communication, which doesn't imply that there's an interest behind it, but it's just more fun and this is what makes Paris so romantic and philosophical and poetic,” Bravo says of this French allure. “I experienced it in my past, having this [love] language … and being confronted [by] someone who misunderstood my intentions. I think it's one of the cultural gaps we have between the States and Paris.”  

Despite being raised in a culture so entranced by romanticism, Bravo often finds himself outside of his comfort zone while portraying Gabriel. Having grown up with a strong, feminist figure for a mother, Bravo has always struggled with approaching women first. 

Lucas Bravo Polaroids

Polaroid Photos by Lucas Bravo

“It's always hard for me to play the confident boy-next-door,” Bravo shares. “Honestly, the hardest scenes I’ve ever had to shoot were the scenes where I'm like ‘[Emily], do you want to live in my apartment?’ Or be like, ‘Hey, try my meat.’ All these scenes are a struggle because everything implying a pick-up phrase, for me, is the opposite of elegance.” 

He instead credits his role as André — a shy, existential accountant working for Dior in this year’s Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris — as a therapeutic outlet for working through his teenage years when he felt most uncomfortable in his masculinity. “I was so afraid to be heavy, to be annoying, and I never gathered the courage to go talk to anybody I liked,” says Bravo. “I would always wait for someone else to come talk to me and I kind of infused this mindset in André, because this is exactly what he was going through.” 

This battle with femininity isn’t the only connection between Bravo and André. Often alone in his apartment, nose-deep in Jean-Paul Sartre, and — to borrow words from Bravo himself — staring into the abyss of his meaningless existence, André represents most thirtysomethings dealing with that nagging feeling of “am I doing the right thing with my life?”

“I spend my life questioning everything. It can bring me to dark places, but at the same time, it always keeps me on my toes and always present. Always aware,” he explains. “I think the best way to stay present and connected to your surroundings is to question everything. What am I doing? What is my impact on the world? What feeling do I leave in the room or with this person when I exit? I'll always question this because I've always wanted to be good.”

Lucas Bravo Polaroids

Polaroid Photos by Lucas Bravo

This emphasis on being softer and more attuned to others needs is evident in how Bravo carries himself around others. At his photoshoot, he exudes a casual but kind nature, asking everyone on set before he sits for grooming, “Has everyone had breakfast today?” Not because he wants anything himself, but purely to make sure everyone has been taken care of before the attention goes back to him. A trait that Bravo’s co-star, George Clooney, exemplified while on set for his upcoming film, Ticket to Paradise. 

“[It’s] something you don't learn in acting school, because it's something to be witnessed,” he says of Clooney’s “no man left behind” mentality. “The fact that in a scene he does everything to put you in the light [...] His main focus is not to shine or to be the funniest or to be the best. He just wants you to succeed.” Working with Clooney on set helped solidify Bravo’s perception of who he’d like to be as an actor and as a person. “It just brought me such perspective. This selfless, ‘I'm going to do this for you because I want you to be in your light. And through that mechanism, I'm going to shine on my own.’”

Bravo, without a doubt, has found his comedic light. Where Gabriel brought out his more vulnerable side, and André channeled contemplation, Bravo equates Paul — a lovesick pilot who sees the world through rose-colored glasses — as the untapped “goofy” part of himself. And it’s a complete joy to see him come alive amongst the stacked cast of stars.

“Paul is just so naive and innocent. It's like he's the only person in the world that just arrived in his 30s and has no traumas and so he's all in,” Bravo explains. “For me, it was just like portraying a 15-year-old trapped in a thirtysomething body. For that matter, there are no limits. You can go all the way with love and hope. You're intoxicated by the promise of life.”

Bravo attributes the ease of stepping into a comedic role to Julia Roberts’s experience in the space. The queen of romantic comedies and the object of Paul’s desires returns to the screen with her trademark wit and charm. “She has such great comedic timing and such a particular sense of humor. Not everybody catches it, because she's very not sarcastic, but she has something kind of almost serious, but always with a little glitter in one eye and you know she's up to something,” he says. 

Observing Bravo — clad in a Strawberry Shortcake T-shirt he bought from a vintage store on L.A.’s Melrose Ave. — dance around on set to a playlist he curated himself, cracking jokes with our photographer (“Are you a dancer?” “No, I’m just a natural!”), it’s hard to believe it’s taken this long for Bravo to be cast in a comedic role.

Lucas Bravo

Jonny Marlow / Styled by Lucas Bravo.

“‘Comedy is a serious business,’ someone once told me. And it's harder to make someone laugh than it is to make someone cry. There's no music. It's more difficult. It's all about timing and being connected,” he explains. “When you have George and Julia with you who are just open to anything and encouraging your instincts and making you part of the creative, it just doesn't get any better.”

Bravo’s interpretation of the bright-eyed, enthusiastic Paul provides a heavy dose of comic relief throughout the film. Spoilers ahead. If you plan to see Ticket to Paradise, skip the next few paragraphs. If you’re someone who doesn’t believe curses are real, read on. 

In a scene that caused the entire theater to erupt with laughter, Bravo and Roberts’s characters find themselves in a precarious situation alone together in Bali. Paul enters a cave rumored to curse any couple who enters and — after a failed grand gesture — a snake bites him. Naturally, Georgia (played by Roberts) saves his life by sucking the poison from his leg. 

Bravo laughs recalling the moment on set. “At some point I was just laying on my back and I was like, ‘Julia, what are the choices that got me to this moment? —  Laying on my back, in a cave in Australia ... with Julia Roberts trying to [suck] snake poison out of my leg.’ And she was like, ‘Well, this is what we do, I guess?’”

Lucas Bravo Polaroids

Polaroid Photos by Lucas Bravo

Another moment, which occurred on the last day of filming, was captured in the end credits gag reel (yet another classic rom-com trope brought back to life in this film). Bravo, dressed in a Batman onesie one might purchase at a Spirit Halloween, knocks on George Clooney’s door surprising him before breaking out into laughter himself. 

“Kaitlyn Dever had shot Dopesick with Michael Keaton — who was Batman. And since George was also Batman, he would come to set and ask Kaitlyn, ‘Who's your favorite Batman?’ And I thought it would be funny if one day, instead of his wardrobe, he finds a Batman costume in his trailer. And I was like, ‘I wonder if he would wear it?’ [Ticket to Paradise] director, Al Parker told me, ‘Oh no, you should wear it in the last scene of the last day before we wrap,’" Bravo explains. "As I put on the costume and [Clooney] opened the door, little did I realize that I was pranking myself. So, there's a very funny picture of me in this tight Adam West costume from the ‘70s and George is just cracking up. I guess it was more an homage than a prank.”

While Ticket in Paradise is mostly a light-hearted, good-ol’-fashioned romantic comedy, one recurring theme stood out. Roberts’s character has a very specific mantra she chooses to live by: “Why save a good thing for later?” A sentiment that feels awfully French. Bravo agrees. “French philosophy is very, very, very much focused on the present,” he says. And for him, the present is key to living life to its fullest. He references Marina Ambramović’s famous quote, “I love to live in the spaces in between, the places where you leave the comforts of your home and your habits behind and make yourself completely open to chance.”

“This is when you are most perceptive and most connected to your environment and reality,” Bravo explains. “And I think it's so true. I think the present is the only way to feel this world the right way.” 

Lucas Bravo

Jonny Marlow / Nanushka jacket. Truth Alone tee shirt. Zegna pants. Giorgio Armani shoes. Boglioli belt.

“Gone Away From Me” by Ray LaMontagne blasts on the speakers in the photo studio as Bravo continues to garner laughs from the team behind the monitor, bobbing and weaving with the photographer he only moments ago was photographing on the floor. As he takes a break to look at the photos on the screen, I quip that LaMontagne is usually reserved for staring at the ceiling and moodily pondering past failed relationships. Instead, he’s dancing and jumping and living his best life. He states very definitively as he’s catching his breath, “There’s always room for both.”

Read more below to find out all about Lucas Bravo’s celebrity crush, a few of his favorite cheesy pick-up lines he keeps on his Notes app, and his bedtime routine. 

Who is your celebrity crush?

Jeff Bridges. Because he's The Dude. I literally have a doll. It's the most expensive thing I've ever bought in my life. And you can move everything. You can change the hands. You have different white Russian drinks. You have a little tiny leather bag where you can put the bowling ball and you have a different hand where you can put the bowling ball in the hand. He has the little transparent shoes. You can put on the glasses. His clothes are the right texture. It's my favorite doll and it's a Jeff Bridges Big Lebowski doll. And I just think it's the coolest thing I have ever owned.

What is your favorite romantic comedy?

(500) Days of Summer [ed. note: the 2009 film starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt]. I think it's a beautiful metaphor for life. Nowadays, we don't want to make mistakes. We don't want to fail. [We say] no to second chances, because we feel we are trying to avoid pain. And for me, pain and mistakes and failure are the only way to grow and to be the better version of ourselves … So I love [(500) Days of Summer] for that, because it encourages you to just go with it and not be scared of the result.

Favorite villain?

Gustavo Fring from Breaking Bad. Every story has a villain and a good guy. And even though we're getting more nuanced nowadays with storytelling from the point of view of the villain — which is good because nobody was ever born really bad or mean, and it's important to explore the why and what happened to bring that person to that result — I think this guy is just ... he scared me. It's very credible and you don't get a lot of really good, scary bad guys nowadays. He's just so still and silent and tidy and I think that's more powerful than “roar.” You know?

Describe a memorable dream.

I want to get into conscious dreams where when you wake up, you write them down. But I forget all my dreams the second I wake up. The last memorable one was a month ago. I was able to fly and it felt so real to a point that I could really —  if I didn't focus enough —  I was kind of falling and then I could really get back [under control] and it took me all night to actually get it. And by the time I could really, really fly, I woke up and I've never been so disappointed in my life. I was like, “Oh, my.” I believed it. I was flying and that was memorable. I don't know what the metaphor is for this. I need to look it up online.

First album you’ve ever owned?

The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

What’s your favorite cheesy pick-up line?

Wait, I had a good one that I think I wrote down on my phone. I have a note with all the phrases that I love. “Are you French? Because Eiffel for you?” and “Are you from Tennessee? Because you're the only 10 I see.” [Laughs] I'm never going to use them, but I think I have a weird sense of humor and I like to make people uncomfortable. 

If you were to spend $1,000 what would you buy?

Time. 

How much time would $1,000 get you?

I guess for $1,000 you can buy half a day? It wouldn't be time you get back. It's time that you add to your day. Instead of being a 24-hour day, it would be a 30-hour day. So, you could do your work, be alone with yourself, enjoy the comfort of your silent thoughts and be with the people you love and rest enough. And then have a little bit of an artistic time or whatever ... screen bad, reality TV. I feel like sometimes days are too short. We're missing a couple hours. Five hours would be amazing ... [you] would feel a bit more yourself.

Credits

Photographer

Jonny Marlow

Assisted By

Evadne Gonzalez

Styling

Michael Fisher

Grooming

Jamie Taylor

Polaroids

Lucas Bravo

Special Thanks

Polaroid

Creative Director

Jenna Brillhart

Senior Visuals Editor

Kelly Chiello

Associate Photo Editor

Amanda Lauro

Video Director

Justine Manocherian

Director of Photography

Brandon Scott Smith

Producer

Sahara Pagan

Executive Producer

Bree Green

Booking

Talent Connect

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