Omar Sy travels far from edges of Paris toHollywood life
French actor Omar Sy has come a long way from the gritty Paris suburbs where he grew up. But sitting in a five-star Beverly Hills hotel, he has clearly not forgotten his immigrant roots.
And the same goes for his career — weeks after starring in the recordbreaking Jurassic blockbuster franchise, he will be on US cinema screens in his latest French film, Samba, out this week.
“Last year was the perfect example: During the winter, I was shooting Samba, and during the summer, I was shooting Jurassic World. And formethat’s the perfect year,” hesays.
“To travel to such different projects in the same year ... If it can continue like that, it will be a dream,” says Sy, who lives outside Los Angeles with his wife and four children.
The 37-year-old, whose parents were immigrants from West Africa, has long been known in his native France both for TV and film work.
But he catapulted into international success after The Intouchables (2011), on the relationship between a quadriplegic millionaire and a caretaker he hires from a poor Parisian suburb.
Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano — with whom Sy was reunited forSamba— The Intouchables became the biggest-selling French film overseas of all time.
Sy, who also earned a Cesar — France’s equivalent of an Oscar — for The Intouchables, says the film’s astonishing success made it easier to produce Samba.
“A movie like Samba is difficult to Voice of China, Where AreWe Going, Dad? and Running Man based on foreign programs, Luo says their rich experience of nearly two decades helps them look for creative solutions within the country.
“Chinese TV producers are good at creating something new, but sometimes we lag behind our Western counterparts summing up our experiences and lessons.”
Luo says Chinese variety shows should look to become models for other countries to follow, not the other way round.
“As a veteran in the industry, Happy Camp will possibly be the first Chinese variety show exporting its model to overseas markets,” she says. Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org release, because of the subject, difficult to finance in France because of the subject. But after the huge success of Untouchables, all the doors were open,” he says.
Samba tells the story of the title character, a Senegalese immigrant struggling to get by without proper papers, andAlice, a burnt-out executive (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) helping him as part of her recovery process.
Sy says the movie — which came out in France last year, and gets a limited US release from Friday — was “100 percent” realistic in terms of its depiction of the daily struggle of immigrant life.
The issue has hit the headlines in Europe in recent months as boats full of mostly African immigrants streamed across the Mediterranean, sometimes even losing their lives in the process.
“It is an unfortunate coincidence,” Sy says of the film’s release at the same time as such tragedies.
“But in Europe, and in France especially, we have the immigration issue ... we heard about it since we were young, all the politicians talk about immigration and immigrants,” he says.
The actormovedtoLAthree years ago.
In addition to Jurassic World, he has appeared in the last X-Men movie and will co-star with Bradley Cooper in a comedy, Adam Jones, out this October.
Sy says he is very happy with this combination of doing Hollywood movies and working back home — noting that the LA movies, while more high-profile internationally, actually put less pressure on him.
“To have the ... responsibility I have in films in France, (contrasted with) something a little lighter, where I amnot the lead and I amin a supporting role with a little less pressure and a little more freedom, it’s a perfect balance,” he says.
That said, Sy— whose English has come a long way since he moved to California — doesn’t rule out taking lead roles in US movies in future. “Why not?” he asks. “If I have the opportunity, if it’s the right time, the good opportunity and if I feel able to do it, why not?”
Inany case, he doesn’t plan to give up his French film career anytime soon.
“There are so many movies to do in France, there are so many stories to tell, there are somany useful movies we can do. There is no reason to stop,” he says.