Leon Lučev; my 6th Berlinale with the movie "Disco Boy"
"Wishes do come true. I love the people around me and the work I do."
Firstly, congratulation for the role in „Disco Boy“ which had such an amazing premiere in Berlin on 19th February. Helen Louvart got the Silver Bear for for outstanding artistic contribution for the cinematography in „Disco Boy“. Can you tell us more about the whole experience of being in the offical selection of the Berlinale? Red carpets, inteviews, duties, fun, work... Meeeting the crew again.
Berlin is a city close to my hearth. I love it. The first time I was there was 25 years ago staring in the &TD play, and since then that love is still there. After my first time in Berlin I attended six Berlinales, quite a number, very valuable as an experience. Also, many friendships are connecting me with Berlin. This year, we decided to go to Berlin, Jelena and me, as tourists, just to enjoy Berlin and while we were there, to go to the premiere. Since I had not seen the film I had no knowledge of how the premiere will look. It was exciting and uncertain. I played in French, so I didn't know how the movie would look but also how it would sound and it was very exciting. I would like to thank Varteks for the great tuxedo that I had the honor to wear on the red carpet. Meeting with colleagues, friends and socializing is always a wonderful part of the Berlinale experience.
The movie deals with themes of love, sexuality, and identity. What captured your attention when reading the script for the first time?
I have been in contact with Giacomo Abbruzzese since Cannes 2019, when I was there with the movie "The Load". I knew he wanted me for a role, but the movie Disco Boy had a difficult path until the start of shooting. We kept in touch and spoke to each other from time to time, until one day in the summer of 2021, when he had sent me a text and told me to record an audition with singing in French. I did it but preceded by work, work, work. I sent the audition and the only thing I could do was wait and look forward to if I would get a positive reaction and eventually the part.
What was it like working with director Giacomo Abbruzzese, and how did he help you bring your character to life? Can you share any memorable moments or experiences from the filming process?
We talked, a lot. We didn't have too many rehearsals. When I came to Paris, I had only a couple of days before I started shooting. The shooting was intense and breathless.
Can you tell us more about your character in "Disco Boy" and how you approached portraying him and also about the whole process? For the role you also had to learn some French. Can you tell us more? How did you approach it. Did you know any French before?
I studied French in elementary school from first to fourth grade but that didn't help me too much. There was a lot of text and I had only a month to master it. I was rehearsing with Helene Pokorny, the assistant, and she helped me a lot.
The character I play is Paul, whose background we don't know, except that he is a legionnaire. I have to admit I didn't deal with that too much because I was dealing with the language and it was quite a difficult process to master. It was work, work, work and a little of talent. J
"Disco Boy" premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival. What was your experience attending the festival and seeing the film on the big screen? Was that the first time you saw a movie? What was the reaction of the live audience?
I enjoyed the movie, Franz Rogowski (main actor who plays Alex) blew me away. Giacomo made a wonderful and powerful film and Hélène Louvart (cinematographer) shot the film beautifully. The scenes of the factories and the burnt delta stayed in my head for a long time.
The movie features a strong soundtrack with a mix of disco and contemporary music. What is your favorite music style?
Vitalic (composer of the movie Disco Boy) made a great music. I'm a fan of „Gogol Bordelo“, „Konstrakta“, „Ova stvarnost“ (my wife's band), „Anja Lechner“, „Nina Simone“, „U pol devet kod sabe“, „Patty Smith“, „Bajaga“, „Oliver Dragojević“, „Đorđe Balašević“, „Leonard Cohen“, „Imany“, „Jai Sahaj“, „Barcelona Gipsy Kings“...
You've had a diverse range of roles throughout your career. How does your character in "Disco Boy" compare to your previous work?
Honestly, I don't know anymore. I enjoy working on these kinds of projects. Working on a foreign language excites me, as well as directing and teaching.
You are filming a lot internationally and your career is really impressive, can you choose the role/project that is your favorite until now? Are you prepairing now something that you can share with us?
I am preparing a movie with Lordan Zafranović. Also my wife Jelena Graovac Lučev and I hold workshops in Šibenik. The TV series „Dug moru“ that I co-directed with Lee Filipovski, has started airing. I am also writing different things. We are waiting for the finalization of the film „Bliskost“, which was directed by Bruno Lovrečić, and the script was written by Jelena, Bruno and me. So, many more things to come.
You live between Croatia, Serbia and the rest of the world. How do you compare the film industry (generally and in the region) at the beginning of your career and now?
On the one hand, everything is more connected and open, there is more colaboration, in fact the collaboration is a necessity and on the other hand, streaming platforms are taking over the market and that is a fact. The form of the TV series that is now booming is exciting for me to watch and to work on.
Recently you were preparing a project where you were director. Can you tell us a bit more about that experience?
Yes I was co-directing „Dug moru“ and for me, directing is something quite natural, an organic continuation of my work. I adore actors and I love working on the set. When I am directing, I know what I want and in which direction I want to go. So yes, I love that part of my job, more and more.
What's next? What are your plans/projects/wishes?
Jelena and I are developing an educational project „Glumac ima vremena“/“The actor has time“, which we created during the pandemic. I'm also researching, reading a lot, waiting for Olja Runjić to finish her script for the new movie… Wishes do come true. I love the people around me and the work I do.