By Ruth Kinane
October 08, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
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CAROLE BETHUEL/NETFLIX

Pastries or paramours? Netflix's Emily in Paris has both.

Whether you binged your way through the Darren Star-produced Parisian romantic comedy last weekend or are savoring it, as one would a coupe of Champagne (if you've watched episode 8, you know what we mean), chances are you want to know more about Emily's (Lily Collins) swoon-worthy downstairs neighbor, Gabriel.

We heard your cries of "Mais oui!" and chatted with (the excellently named) Lucas Bravo — the French actor who plays the sous chef who can cook a perfect steak and melt all of Emily's resolve with one glance — to get the scoop on finding out he'd landed the role on top of a mountain, his real-life skills in the kitchen, and wine tasting with the cast in the French countryside.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you get involved in Emily in Paris and what were your initial impressions of the script?

LUCAS BRAVO: It's a simple story. We had the entire month of July last year, going back and forth, meeting with Darren, and getting back into the room. Then I went on vacation expecting an answer and they called me back right when I was on top of a mountain, with a shepherd, just trying to avoid civilization. I had some more meetings with Darren and Lily, the producers at Paramount, and the director for block one. That's how it started.

I love that you were trying to escape it all when they called you.

Yes, that exact moment.

So were you a fan of Darren Star's work going into it?

He's an icon. I was raised with Sex and the City. My friends were like, you shouldn't watch this and I was like, you should watch this. There's so much information on what you should or shouldn't do, and it's also fun. I like the writing. I like the atmosphere that was in every one of his shows. I was kind of intimidated and I wanted to make a good first impression and he was so nice and human and he made me comfortable right away. That was amazing. He's the nicest person. He's kind of shy when you arrive. I remember the first day I arrived on set and my imposter syndrome was kicking in: "What am I doing here? Are sure I should be here? Are you sure?" And the first friendly face I saw was Darren. I went to hug him because I was so intimidated by the production and all the people involved. He's amazing. He also lived in Paris and his French is impeccable, but he doesn't want to tell anybody. He's being modest because at the wrap party, we started talking in French on his request and he wasn't just passable, he was fluent — honestly. I'm not exaggerating; it's not a compliment, but he's such a perfectionist. I think he doesn't want to call himself a fluent French person.

You and Lily have great chemistry together. Was that apparent from the first time you read together?

Well, it's pretty funny because I got into this room after coming back from the mountain and there were like six or seven people, Lily arrived a little later and I wasn't nervous because I'd come back from the wild so I was filled with sun and nice rest but I was kind of intimidated. I wanted to say something smart and basically when you want to say something smart you end up doing what I did, which is I talked about making goat cheese with a shepherd for like 30 minutes. So when I left the room, I just stood there for maybe 30 seconds telling myself, "Wow, you just talked about goats to everyone at Paramount and Darren and Lily."

That's hilarious but also goat cheese is so great, who wouldn't want to chat about it?

I mean, yeah.

STEPHANIE BRANCHU/NETFLIX

So when you got the scripts, what did you like most about Gabriel? Were there parts of him you could identify with?

We didn't have much information because they were writing as we were shooting. Darren likes to really know the people he casts on the show so it can evolve with their own personality. It becomes kind of personal, which is great. But I had two or three episodes [before shooting]. Obviously, as a conflicted character who himself is kind of lost, he's looking for excitement and curiosity and I felt attracted to that because as an actor, you're always expecting and questioning yourself. I recognize myself in that.

Can you cook? 

I can cook! As a matter of fact, I was a cook. A few years ago, I was working in this bar and one of the sous chefs left and I told them, "I don't think I can learn anything more at the bar. Can I assist you?" And he accepted. So for two months, I was basically a sous chef and I had a blast. It was an open kitchen so customers could see us, but it was a lot of fun.

Amazing. The show plays with stereotypes of both French and American people. Were there any you disagreed with?

Well, I really liked that scene when Emily's introducing herself at the table at Savoir and Luke raises his hand and he's like, "Why are you shouting?" And also the fact that people [in Paris] just chain smoke — it's so true.  There are many references I can only agree with. It's just playful. No judgment.

How was shooting in Paris?

It's just crazy how you can rediscover your own city through someone else's eyes and that's exactly what happened with this. You have many different perspectives in there. It's a very diverse city, one of the most diverse cities in the world. Anywhere you go and anybody you meet can have a different vision of Paris. The vision of Paris that Darren brought was just amazing. I went to places I never knew existed in Paris. When eventually everybody left, I just continued surfing that wave, that vision of Paris for months. It was amazing.

Did you get to show the others around?

Yeah, at some points. Ashley [Park] had an apartment here next to mine, so I started showing her around and she's so much fun. She's so nice to everybody — it's always sunny when she's around. She was basically the element that connected everybody in the cast and made it so easy. So yeah, I started showing them around and they just fit in so easily. Part of the technical team was French and part was from the States and the way everybody just found it so easy and the dialogue was so easy, that's a testimony of those relationships and how French and Americans can really do something crazy amazing. The show really transpires that energy.

How was shooting at the vineyard? It looks so beautiful.

That was beautiful and that was fun because we had been shooting for quite some time when we got to this one where they go to the countryside. It was just like escaping school. I have a precious memory of us finishing shooting a scene and then having an hour when they were installing the next set and we all went for a wine tasting. So much fun. 

Sounds dreamy. Speaking of, Gabriel is obviously Emily's main love interest in this story even though he's in a relationship with someone else when he meets her. He's clearly in demand. Are you ready to become a heartthrob in real life?

It's a good question. [Laughs] You know, it's Darren who's put me in that position. But I think the show really represents the reality of what our generations are now facing with monogamy, polygamy. Monogamy is something that's really new in human history. I don't want to talk too much about that, I'm not a pro, but it's a reality. I feel like more and more generations don't want to belong to anybody. Also, there's so much information and so many different ways to meet different people that I feel like people are having trouble engaging with just one choice. They have this permanent curiosity and it is an everyday fight. I'm telling you this. I think Gabriel really represents that fight.

If the show goes to season 2, what do you want for him? I know you're not going to tell me which girl you think he'll choose...

[Laughs] No. I hope he's going to get his own restaurant and just bloom and feel free to do what he likes the most, which is cook and just entertain people. I hope he finds himself because he knows what he wants, but he's having trouble getting there. In terms of a relationship, I don't want to speculate.

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