Hotel Harabati - interview

  • 15 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

Laurent Lucas is a French actor who just can’t stop walking into trouble. Richard Mowe asks him why he loves playing the fall guy.

He may lack the soaring profile of Romain Duris as one of the hottest bucks in le cinéma francais, but Laurent Lucas is catching up fast. You know the face, it’s just the name that sticks on the tongue. Lucas has been carving a reputation for screen angst from the moment he came to prominence in Dominik Moll’s Harry He’s Here to Help as the paterfamilias who bumps into an old friend with dark consequences.

There have also been art house chillers Who Killed Bambi?, the stomach churning In My Skin and Calvaire. His latest - Brice Cauvin’s debut feature Hotel Harabati (also known as De particulier à particulier) seems to fit the Lucas canon. In it he plays an architect who screws up at work, develops paranoia about Islamic terrorism as his relationship begins to break up (while he embarks on a gay liaison with a young singer). The film begins when the couple find a suitcase on a station platform, apparently left by a middle aged man of Arab origin and simply labelled Hotel Harabati.

‘There’s definitely something about me that seems to invite troubled characters. I wonder why?’ says a puzzled Lucas who, at 41, has been biding his time. ‘Partly it’s because I started in the theatre and didn’t make my first screen appearance until 1996 (opposite Jeanne Balibar in I Hate Love). Then I was hailed with a best promising newcomer nomination for Haut les coeurs! But, of course, things really took off after Harry . . . ’

Lucas, who has made more than 27 movies in his short film career, which started in 1996, intends to keep returning to his theatrical roots. ‘It was only due to a friend who arranged for me to go to some casting sessions that I turned towards film in the first place. Now, though, my ideal balance is to alternate between the two. What could be better?’

Hotel Harabati, Cineworld, 623 8030, 22 Aug, 9.45pm & 23 Aug, 7.15pm, £7.95 (£5.20).

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