IN CONVERSATION WITH LUCIEN LAVISCOUNT
Interview by Jana Letonja
Lucien Laviscount is a British actor, best known for his portrayal of Jonah Kirby on the popular BBC One drama ‘Waterloo Road’. He reached the worldwide audience in 2021 as a recurring character Alfie in season 2 of Netflix’s hit series ‘Emily in Paris’, which will soon premiere its third season.
Lucien, when we met your character Alfie in Season 2 of ‘Emily in Paris’, he came off as a bit standoffish, but soon enough that changed completely and he became a fan favorite. What’s your favorite thing about ‘Emily in Paris’?
Shooting in Paris for one, honestly. Paris is its own character. And then just being on set with the guys, the most amazing cast and amazing crew to work with. We work hard, but it’s a joy to be on set and in Paris. And you just never know what’s gonna come next as well. That’s the thing with Darren’s scripts and the team that he works with, you have no idea. We all get excited when the new scripts come in, cause we have no idea what’s gonna go on. So everything seems fresh and new and it’s just a great place to come and work.
How did you get cast on the series?
I was in New York at the time and I got a call from my manager and she was like “Lucien, stop what you’re doing. Darren Star wants you to read for him in Paris”. So I dropped everything, went back home and then I sent a self tape. I got the script through and it was about 12, 13 pages of dialogue, so I was just like “Okay, just focus, focus, focus”. And I was able to send a tape back within the hour. Then an hour later I got a phone call saying “Darren wants to Zoom with you and Lily tomorrow”. So I was like “Whoa, this is quick”. And then I was on the Zoom call for about 45 minutes. Lily had just finished a full day of work and to take the time out to jump on the call was really special from her. The whole time I was expecting to read the scenes with Lily and after about 45 minutes of talking, that was it. He was just like “Alright, fantastic, we’ll speak to you soon”. I asked if he doesn’t want me to read. And he was like “No, it’s fine. Just wanted to see how you and Lily got along”. And then I got a call the next day saying to come to Paris next week. And that was it. I think I was only supposed to do a couple of episodes and it kind of transformed into what it is now, which is really nice.
You and Lily seem to have such great chemistry on screen. How’s been working with her and the whole cast?
It’s great. She’s producing as well and she’s got a lot of pressure on her shoulders, but she comes to set and you don’t feel that. She’s always professional, always knows her lines, always hits her marks. She’s polite, she’s generous to everyone and generous as an actor and she’s just a real joy to work with. And honestly, it makes it so much easier to come on set and there’s no ego with her and she’d be happy to read lines, she’s just there to help and to be supportive, which is so unique. It is actually sad to say, but it is unique to work with an actress like that, to work with any actor really who’s so giving. And it’s just a real joy and we get to explore Paris like no one else with this show, the locations, the trips within France that we get to go on and stuff like that. So it’s great that you get to do that with a friend as well.
With filming in Paris, you’re able to live in this beautiful city. What do you love the most about Paris?
I’d say the people, the architecture, and I honestly feel like it’s a museum with the roof taken off this whole place. And it’s small enough to get around, to get lost. And the Parisian people are just great. The swag that everyone carries as well, it’s an energy to the city that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. And it really feels like the city’s on fire and it’s different than New York, different than London. I can’t really explain it, but I guess I can only say ‘Je ne sais quoi’.
Before being cast in ‘Emily in Paris’ you were best known for your role on popular BBC One drama ‘Waterloo Road’. How would you say this role impacted your career?
I think I was 17 years old. I’d just come off a show called ‘Coronation Street’, which I did for a year, and then I’d come onto ‘Waterloo Road’, which for me at the time was one of the coolest shows I could ever be on. It was fun. I think most kids watched it, I grew up watching it and just to be a part of it was massive for me. I guess it was like an institution, it was my drama school. It was everything that I needed at that time. I was working long days, but was working with great people. At 17 to 18, being on a show like that, I was really fortunate to be part of it. And the success of the show was great and kind of gave me an insight into what to expect from popular shows, I guess. So it was kind of the training wheels when it came to that.
Are there any specific things that you look for in the characters or stories that you are offered to play in?
It really comes down to the people I’ve been working with, cause of their vision for what we’re gonna create. And honestly, another one since working in Paris locations, if I can work somewhere cool, then I’m right in. But more than anything, it’s about the story for me and not necessarily about my character. I obviously want my characters to have great story arcs and things like that. At the moment I play Alfie in ‘Emily in Paris’ and I get to feed her story and see her develop and grow, and I get to grow alongside that. So it is important, but I think the most important thing for me is to see a change within characters and to explore them a little bit further. And I think that’s what’s exciting and unexpected as well. And I’m sure there’ll be stuff that comes around where I have to transform a little bit more and things like that, but it’s nice to always bring a little bit of yourself to the characters. I think you always bring a little bit of you to it and then go from there and explore. So it’s all an exploration that way.
Later this year you’ll also be starring in a sci-fi thriller ‘Last Sentinel’, alongside Kate Bosworth. This film is about squad of soldiers that are stranded on an abandoned military base on a near-future Earth waiting for relief or the enemy, whichever comes first. What can you share with us about this project?
The director, Tanel Toom, was probably one of the most intense, lovely human beings I’ve ever got a chance to work with. I did an audition and we were on the Zoom call for three and a half or four hours, just going back and forth with the scene and with the character. It was super intense, but it really opened up so many more avenues how to play the character and what he wanted from the role and then to find new things as well. I’ve not seen it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what it turns out like. Again, it was tough, it was up against the elements of filming in Estonia, the Baltic sea, literally on the sea for quite a lot of it. So the elements were against us, but hopefully we’ve made something pretty special out there. I’m really excited for that one and I’m nervous to see it because we went all in on that movie. But I think it’s always a good thing to have a little bit of excited nerves.
You are quite a fashionable guy. How do you descibe your style? And what’s your favorite thing about fashion?
I’d say my style’s ever changing. Honestly, I wake up one morning and I’m in tracksuits and I’m all about comfort. And it depends on what the day asks for. Then I’d just throw on some high wasted and a tight shirt and I’m good to go. But I think it just reflects my personality and my mood that day. I wouldn’t like to label myself as this or that or the other, but I’d like to say it’s always changing, which is confusing sometimes when looking at wardrobe and I’m like “Who do I wanna be today”? I guess it just matches my mood.
You are from England, but you have Caribbean descent. Do you visit this beautiful part of the world often?
I do. So, I was fortunate enough when I was younger. We didn’t have too much growing up, but my parents always made sure we went back, just kind of checking with the roots and stuff. Antigua is a small island, just like Martinique and Guadeloupe, so it’s that little cluster of love. I’ve just actually moved back there and I love it. It’s a home away from home. Especially now with restrictions on Covid and things like that, everyone’s working more remotely. Before it was like I had to be in New York, I had to be in London, I had to be in LA, whereas things have changed now and everything’s online. So I kind of have the opportunity to live where I want. But now, when I’m not shooting ‘Emily in Paris’, I’m back in Antigua.
You’ve been traveling a lot lately. Which of these travels left the biggest impression on you and why?
Antigua is home. So it’s 365 beaches, one for every day the year. I love that. I was only there for 24 hours, but I went to Rome for the first time, which was spectacular. And then I spent a little bit of time in Mexico on a job earlier this year and it had my heart. I think there’s an energy down there that’s really special. And the beaches are beautiful. I’m a beach bum.
When you get to have some free time, how do you like spending it?
See, if it’s not like focus on going to the gym and keeping up that side of things, I play a little bit of golf. It’s something some people might feel that’s kind of sad, but I love it. And I write a little bit and I read a lot. So I think I’m either just like locked away in a little cafe or on the on the water, on the Seine in Paris, just reading a book and chilling. That’s my downtime. I’m not really too crazy in that sense.
Now that you’ve mentioned reading books, what kind of books do you love the most?
One of my favorite books is called ‘Perfume’ and I’ve just finished reading it again. And it’s also a movie Ben Whishaw did, which is one of my favorite films as well, to be honest. So I’m re-reading that for like the third or fourth time. It’s dark and it’s beautiful at the same time and it’s really quite moving, so I’m locked on that.
Besides season 3 of ‘Emily in Paris’ and ‘We Are Not Alone’, what can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I got a film coming out this Christmas for Amazon Prime. It’s called ‘Your Christmas or Mine?’ I’m doing this Christmas film with Asa Butterfield, who is phenomenal. He just goes from strength to strength and I’m a massive fan of ‘Sex Education’. We were able to shoot this Christmas film last year and it comes out this Christmas, so that’s exciting. And then alongside with this, I’ve got another project that I can’t talk about, but that’s exciting.
I’m really excited for people to see ‘Last Sentinel’ and season three of ‘Emily in Paris’. Third season is gonna be loaded with more drama, more outrageous costumes and everything else that you’d expect with a little bit more. And then there are a couple of little bits that we’ll drop out towards the end of the year, early next year. So, just keeping busy and keeping focused.
Talent LUCIEN LAVISCOUNT Photographer JAN PHILIPZEN at THE ART BOARD Fashion director GABRIELLA NORBERG Make-up JENNEKE CROUBELS Hair JESSY “JAY THE BARBER” DURIMEL Set designer SATI FAULKS at BRYANT ARTISTS Production VINCENT COFFRE at THE ART BOARD Casting director TIMI LETONJA