Exclusive: “Things have changed a bit,” Omar Sai admits about his later life Lupine. She smiles. “My parents know what I do now.”
This is how the actor and his family like it. Less key. A decade ago, the move by French citizens to LA was partly driven by a desire to remain anonymous. Sai is a superstar in his own country. In America, it didn’t have to be drama to get her kids out of school. “It’s still different to be in LA,” he says, despite his growing reputation. “Although the situation has changed somewhat, there is less focus here than in France. People from Lupine It’s not a big deal in LA. “
In truth, “from the people Lupine“It’s becoming a big deal around the world. Sy was already an established comic in France Remove content 2011 took the world by storm. The film grossed an astonishing $ 426 million at the worldwide box office and is still the biggest French film of all time. Sy became the first black person to win a Caesar Award and was stripped of the rights to a US remake of the movie.
Sy plays a role in the US blockbuster, co X-Men: Future Past DaysThe Jurassic World Suffrage and Transformers: The Last Night. Includes French language credits Samba And Chocolate. Subsequently, the actor gave one of his most impressive performances so far as Rafael Padilla, the first Black Circus performer in Paris.
But his turn on Netflix Lupine Last year that changed his career again. Inspired by the story of Arsene Lupine, a criminal from Maurice LeBlanc, Sy plays the character of the thief Asan Diop, who is ready to take revenge on his father for the injustice done by a rich family.
The series saw 70 million households in its first month, becoming the most-watched non-English series on Netflix at the time. Both Sy and Shaw have won Golden Globe nominations. Shortly after its rollout, the actor became the first French talent to sign a multi-year deal with Netflix.
Sy is in LA with her family, taking a break between filming the third season Lupine In Paris. The exuberant actor does a fairly good job of buttoning up when asked about the upcoming season: “I can’t really give anything away, but we’re coming back with the same energy and fun,” he says. If it depends on him, Lupine Advertising will continue indefinitely. “I want to do this for the rest of my life. I think we could. But it will depend on what story we tell and where the character goes. If we have the right script, we will continue. “
Spinoff was quoted as saying in a recent deadline interview with Sidoni Dumas, head of the government, and Christophe Riandi, the show’s French producer. “I read about spinoff on your site,” Sy joked. “It simply came to our notice then. I look forward to hearing more about it. “
Sy is a real disruptor. A trailblazer. Her journey to the French and European acting stars is remarkable, making her story even more special. He was born to West African parents in the working class of the Paris suburbs of Trapez. He was one of eight children in the family. His mother worked as a house cleaner and his father worked in an auto parts factory after moving to France from Bachel in 1962. The family became Muslims.
Paris suburbs, or Suburban As they are called in France, they are known for their harshness but also for their diverse, intimate communities. They are a favorite subject of French filmmakers, as is clearly captured in acclaimed films Hate And more recently Ladj Ly’s Wretched man.
“I’ve always been curious about people and space,” Sai says of what his roots have given him. “As an actor, I want to share something as soon as I learn it. I grew up in a community where there are many different people from all over the world My surroundings were full of people from different backgrounds. You learned things all the time. Perhaps it was an influence that helped me become an actor. Learning and sharing. ”
As it turned out, Sy was not Trapez’s only extraordinary talent at the time. Among his childhood friends in the neighborhood were former French and Real Madrid footballer Nicolas Anelka and popular French-Moroccan actor and comedian Jamel Debuz.
Sy, who enjoyed sketching and impressions from an early age, began appearing on Debuz radio shows before going on stand-up as part of the popular double-act. Omar and Fred With Fred Testotte. However, it was Remove content That changed his world. The film was a waterfall moment, not just for Sy, but for French and European art. Never before has a black French actor led a worldwide hit. To this day, it remains a rare sight throughout Europe.
“It sounds like something I still adhere to,” the actor said of the experience. “It was something that changed not only me, but people like me. I am very grateful for that movie because it has changed a lot in the industry through more black actors. I made that movie [Father & Soldier]Which is debuted at the ear, has come as a consequence Remove content. The success of the film gives me the opportunity to interact with different subjects as a black actor. ”
It’s not just on the screen that Sy has found its range. The actor has increasingly used his platform to talk about social injustice. Two years ago, he made a powerful intervention in the wake of the assassination of George Floyd, whose death echoed the controversial case of Adama Troy in France four years ago, when he wrote a strong opinion for the French magazine L’Obs. He requested:
Let’s wake up. Let us equip ourselves with courage, be vigilant, do not let four more years pass without accountability. The death of a person due to inconsistency and excessive force must be punished.
George Floyd and Adama Traore had one thing in common: they were both black and big. Within hours, their lives were in jeopardy. Nothing. My age is 1.92 (6’2 ”), I am black, I look like them. Could the same thing be mine? Could this happen to my children tomorrow? To your children? This nameless fear, this irrational fear, which swells in our lives, will surely disappear. I know the feeling that when I grow up the police will stop and eat from the inside.
Two years after Floyd’s assassination and six years after Travar, how much do you think Sy has changed on the battlefield of social justice?
“It simply came to our notice then. 2020 was a time when there was no room for denial, which is a great thing for change, “he said.” I hope change is in process, even if we still have a level of denial. It’s short. It’s against the police or for It’s not about being, it’s about how we work together for justice. I’m still optimistic. “
Does that optimism extend to the French film landscape? Sai is one of only a few black actors to win Caesar’s highest film honor in France. The number of leading movies or TV series of Black French talent is low and – like most European countries – black executives are painfully invisible in production, sales and distribution companies. “We’re still working on it,” Sy says. “It’s not easy. Quota has a realism, but France has a certain philosophy that we adhere to. We’re working on it, but it takes time. However, we need more time to strike a balance and we need to make progress in creating opportunities.
How and when such opportunities are created remains a burning question in the entertainment and culture industry. Film festivals are a key part of that conversation, nothing more than ears. The Riviera Festival remains the most respected film showcase in the world, but the event has also been discussed in recent years for its lack of variety in its lineup.
There have been some positive changes in this edition, with a record five women competing and multiple films by directors of North African descent. There are several movies starring black, North African and Middle Eastern actors. And yet, of the 70 films in the official selection, only one is a black filmmaker. This is a disappointing statistic, for which there are deep-rooted structural and social reasons. However, some may argue that the world’s largest platforms have a responsibility to drive change.
“The ears are The A place for movies, ”says Sy. “There is no other place like the ear. It opens the mind. We are all responsible for change but Kane must lead by example. We need to find a fair balance. Watch the Ladz movie (Wretched man) Which makes its debut there. We must understand that this is not always possible, and yet they are at the same time There is To do this, it is mandatory. If you don’t listen, nobody will. “
Sy will be in Croatia with a new film this year, Father and soldier, How France recruited men from its former colony Senegal to fight in the French trenches during World War I. The project was a long-term passion project of Sy’s and director Mathieu Vadepied, who was DP Remove content.
“We have talked Father and soldier More than 10 years ago and we’ve talked about it ever since, ”said the actor, who has maintained a strong connection with Senegal. “We are both proud to speak of these French soldiers who are part of our history. We talk a lot about the ‘Les Poilou’ (French infantry) in France who fought in Verdun during the First World War, but very few people know about the Senegalese ‘Tiraliurus’. I was French before my father came to France and it is important to remember that many of our ancestors have a similar history. At a time when rights are gaining momentum in France, I want to remind people what our history is, to better understand our past and to build a better future. “
As a person and as an actor, Sy is impressive in almost all respects. How much can be left on the bucket list, I wonder?
“The production list is there because there are so many stories to tell. The best way to help present stories and reveal new talent is to be a producer; To give back the opportunity. I want to manage one day, but I’m not ready yet; I want to work with a bigger director. This is the best way for me to learn as an actor. I want to get a lead in a US movie. I’m just starting out, my work is far away. “
There was not much demand for actors. Netflix’s crime comedy Takedown This May Roll Out and Sy is set to star alongside Kerry Washington in the Lionsgate action movie The shadow force.
After the bishop donated a cape for the game X-Men: Future Past Days, Could be another superhero movie card? “Of course. I’m always on the set like a kid. I’m glad I did Father and soldierA historical part, and a year later I’ll be on set with Kerry and (director) Joe Carnahan. The shadow force. This is my privilege as an actor: to be able to learn and explore new things and places. “