Lucas Leal, an actor from Pernambuco, is sharing his remarkable journey of acting alongside renowned artists such as Mel Lisboa and Kaysar Dadour on Globo. His trajectory, which began as a “street actor”, led him to participate in the miniseries “A Infância de Romeu e Julieta” on SBT. With an unshakable passion for the performing arts and a tireless dedication to his studies, Lucas decided to explore the audiovisual market during the pandemic, culminating in a remarkable moment in his transition from the streets to TV when he acted in “Cara e Coragem” alongside Mel Lisboa and Kaysar Dadour.
In January 2022, Lucas took a casting test nominated by producer Guilherme Gobbi for a role related to Parkour, an activity he already mastered and was known for at Unirio. The recording took place in June of the same year and aired in August, where he played the character “Rafa”, a bandit in the plot. The experience was intense and emotional, with only one rehearsal before the recordings, but Lucas received support from Mel Lisboa and was warmly welcomed by everyone at Globo, which resulted in the success of the scene.
In addition to his notable participation in “Cara e Coragem”, Lucas also had the opportunity to act in productions such as “Genesis”, “Além da Ilusion”, “Reis”, “Cine Holliúdy” and “Rio Connection”. In 2023, he was also present in the miniseries “A Infância de Romeo e Julieta” on SBT. Although he has noticed the differences in language and body expression between street theater and television, Lucas is willing to explore and improve himself in different forms of acting, understanding that they are all artistic manifestations.
How was the experience of acting alongside Mel Lisboa and Kaysar Dadour in “Cara e Coragem”? What did you learn from these co-stars?
It was an experience I will take with me forever. First, it was a complex scene, where I received the script the day before and all the material at rehearsal time, so I had to use all the techniques I studied over the years of training as an actor to keep focused. It’s not easy to participate, because the cast and crew are in a recording flow and you arrive “cold”. Kaysar is very funny and friendly, we came up with several ideas before the rehearsal and played a little with the makeup. Mel was really sweet, because he saw that I was a little out of touch with things, he grabbed me by the arm and said “you’re with me”, I’ll never forget it. The safe’s battery ran out, and the delay in replacing it caused tension in the air, in addition to the actions, equipment, lines, I had a real password for the safe, which I couldn’t miss, otherwise it would lock it for real and detonate the recording.
You mentioned that you are known for doing Parkour at Unirio University. What was it like to be able to use that skill in a scene in the series?
I started with Parkour by chance, when I was going down from Alto do Morro to catch the bus (back in 2009/2010), and the crowd from Morrão (which is located in Alto Gávea) started calling it “the parkour guy”. Then I went to study, before I only did acrobatics… Parkour is “the art of displacement”, and thanks to that I started to understand my path “from Olinda to the hill in RJ”. I studied, created a methodology for training actors through parkour techniques, combined with anthropological theater (which starts from physical exhaustion for artistic construction). I don’t know what would become of Lucas Leal without this technique. And thanks to her I got to the soap opera casting test. What to say? The world spins and takes you to where you have to be, if you’re prepared of course.
In addition to “Cara e Coragem”, you also participated in other productions, such as “Genesis” and “Além da Ilusion”. How has it been reconciling your work on TV with your activities as manager of @cia.cartart and professor at SME/RJ?
Challenging, I have been lucky enough to fit in a career as an actor, producer and teacher. I usually say that I am 3 Lucas, and it’s not by chance that my name is already in the plural hehehehe. I do a little of everything, believing that art saves, education changes the social condition and cultural production allows me to better choose the projects I am part of, aligning my schedules according to the appointments at the city hall.
In “A Infância de Romeu e Julieta”, on SBT, you had the opportunity to play a character in an adaptation of the classic. What was it like to participate in this project and bring a new approach to this well-known story?
I am happy to see productions that transform classic stories from the current context. I’m a white man, who hitchhiked to Rio de Janeiro and went to live on top of the hill, with several people from the Northeast and black people. I was very happy with the invitation, and my character was very nice (waiting for him to return to the plot), since I cause a conflict between the cores of the markets that are in the plot. Thanks to the face and courage scene, it was much easier to record on SBT, I arrived prepared. It’s not easy to leave theater, street theater, performance, for TV. As I said before, I believe I was where I was supposed to be because I was prepared for it. The soap opera is a success, and as I teach children, they loved to see Uncle Lucas on TV. He was a nice hustler. I believe this even helped in my work with them,
You already had a trajectory as a street actor, performing in different places in Brazil and Latin America. How has that experience influenced your work in TV and film?
I will respond with what the producer Frida Richter wrote when I sent my resume to Globo (I registered in 2010, because a friend who played Zorra Total said they wanted a Northeastern, I was not called for Zorra, but they called me for the B cast of ” Clandestinos” and “totally too much”, and I refused, because it wasn’t what I wanted at the time): “Beautiful your trajectory”.
She came to me in 2020, I was even surprised, I hadn’t sent it to Globo and there are some blows in between. I researched about it, she sent a print of my registration with my brand new photos, from 2010, and I said “Frida, these are photos from 2010” and she said “it’s her turn”. He sent a text, I recorded it, and redid the registration.
From then on, I took pictures with my friend and the best photographer I know “Sérgio Santoian”, I sent material to some agencies in RJ, casting producers, and at the same time I continued with my work as a street actor.
In summary: “I got there, through study, research and trajectory, not because I was friends with so-and-so.” I’ll never leave Rua, because I love it, it’s not easy, sometimes you have 30s to make a traffic light or catch the attention of a passerby in the square. It was with the group D ´Improvizzo GANG from Pernambuco that I learned everything, brought it to RJ, and carry every street experience in my body. As I say to everyone “I’m from the street”.
What attracts you most to the art of acting? Are there any roles or genres you’d like to explore in the future?
Acting for me is living. It’s being who I’m not, to find out who I am. Only by being who you are not, it is possible to discover who you really are. And being real hurts, hurts…. even more so in a world of appearances. I always paid dearly for being real, I don’t regret it, but I could have done other things and “got there” faster. But, everything is in the time it has to be.
Well, I’m a clown (his name is Low) and last year I arrived with him at Cine holliúdy, in episode 8 of the second season. It was the realization of a dream. From the streets to Globo TV. How crazy huh? A northeastern slum dweller on Globo, with his clown (which has existed since 2007).
But in general, I recorded things with a more dramatic air, and I’m a naturally funny guy, because I’m too happy, and having suffered a lot, I always try to be happy, smiling and joking. I think I can explore this side better, although it is very difficult to record humor, because it is very easy to get caricatured or theatrical (because of my training).
The most important thing for me today is not the genre but the project. I’m up for almost everything with art, by and for art. Since I was a child, when asked my name, I answer “Lucas Leal, 9 letters, I’m an artist” (yes, my full name is Lucas Leal, and that was always a question: “Don’t you have a father?” And I would answer: I do, my father is Leal and so is my mother, and there was Lucas Leal… I would like to add Magalhães, from my grandma Penha… who knows, maybe one day I will do that?)
In addition to acting, you also have an academic background in history, film, and the arts. How does this knowledge complement your career as an actor?
I put everything together, culture, art, pedagogy, history… as I said, I’m several, I was born plural, Lucas Leal… if they ask me something and I don’t know how to answer it, I do research, I learned that with my history training. And I don’t know, today I’m doing postdoctoral work, with Heloisa Buarque de Hollanda as supervisor, an immortal. I think I “got there” by being an actor, which camouflages my shyness and gives me the courage to look for people, places and courses that help me to better understand the world. An actor who doesn’t research, doesn’t read, doesn’t write, excuse me, but he’s not an actor.
In your opinion, what is the importance of representativeness in television and cinema? How do you see yourself contributing to greater diversity in audiovisual productions?
I’m arretado from Pernambuco, 14 years in RJ, and I’m still told “and that accent? That way you won’t get on TV.” I strongly disagree, and it was an identity choice, to have, use and be my accent. My voice bothers me, my body bothers me, and the art that doesn’t bother me isn’t art. I want the opportunity to show my work, with my identity, and willing to meet other people who think like me. I think that since 2009, a lot has changed in society and today we have many people from the Northeast on TV. As I said, I’m up for almost everything for art, so I’ll represent any character and work with him in the best way so that production and direction perceive in me a possibility of transformation. I still think that I work well as a social agent, as a teacher, and acting on TV has allowed me to talk about my private projects, like my book-film-theatre @pequenolivrosemtulo (which contains a QRcode for the film “What kind of poet am I?” and with the theatrical text “why does the color of socks matter?”). Realize? I am plural, I am diversity. But there are a lot of people doing a lot of good things out there and they don’t have the opportunity. I believe that the actors should vary more… the people always want something new… so much so that now many theater friends are getting opportunities and we don’t always have the same actors doing all the soap operas.
What are your future projects? Are there any roles or challenges you would like to take on in your career?
Can I respond with a snippet of a song by the artist I most admire?
“I have been Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant,
I have books on the shelf, everyone has an explanation.
But I didn’t! I searched!
So you can see what I was looking for,
I tried smoking hollywood cigarettes,
That television tells me is the successful cigarette.
I am success! I am success!
At the gas station I fill up the tank of my car
In return, I drink my coffee, courtesy of the head office.
“there’s a tiger on the chassis”…
From the end of the month,
From the end of the month,
At the end of the month I am already a customer!” (end of month by Raul Seixas)
Like this… I’m still Catholic, I recently bought a kit on the “morro I was born”, and I want to walk peacefully in the favela that makes me happy (Parque da Cidade). My future projects are with the street, with the favela… I want to set up a cinema there. And for that, I need more money than my salary as a teacher. So, I keep doing casting tests to get a big role and invest in the dream of cinema in the favela (it’s my life project… my retirement…)
You mentioned that you are Catholic and believe in the timing of things. How does your faith influence your journey as an actor and as a person?
Wow, I got goosebumps. Without God I would be nobody. Hitchhiking across America, I slept in all kinds of places and met all kinds of people. And nothing happened to me (just a light stabbing in a favela in Argentina). I’m a survivor, an independent, solo artist, and without God, I wouldn’t have the strength. When I talk about god, some people get scared, but I’ve had some epiphanies. When I had no money to eat (2010) in RJ, and the traffic lights were bad… it was close to the result of the master’s exam.
I had never been first in anything in my life… and the program I did only had one scholarship. There were 398 applicants, 160 passed the written test. At that time, I lived hidden in the “witch house” (an abandoned house inside the university), and I went to Botafogo beach to unroll some food, then I climbed a tree and there I saw God: He said: You are going to be first in the master’s degree. That was December 2010, I went back to Olinda, hitchhiking, and there I only told my mother about it. The result would come out at the end of January… and PIMBA: I was placed first in the selection, I won the scholarship, I started my master’s project in March 2011, and during the research I got to know the PACC (advanced program of contemporary culture at UFRJ) which has an extension project called “University of the broken”, coordinated precisely by my current supervisor, Heloisa Buarque de Hollanda. Can you understand? Can you feel god? Today Helô doesn’t even advise anymore, however, when I sent her my research project in 2022, she got excited, and here I am, from the streets to the university, from the hill to TV, from my dreams, to this report. That’s god. As my mother says “Lucas, do you know what God is? God is that emptiness we feel. When you feel that emptiness, talk to him.” So whenever everything felt like it was going to go wrong, an emptiness in my soul, I talked to God, and he gave me everything I have. That’s god. As my mother says “Lucas, do you know what God is? God is that emptiness we feel. When you feel that emptiness, talk to him.” So whenever everything felt like it was going to go wrong, an emptiness in my soul, I talked to God, and he gave me everything I have.
Including the opportunity to talk about me with you. Thank you for the interview and for giving space to this northeastern slum dweller. from the favela to TV, from my dreams, to this report. That’s god. As my mother says “Lucas, do you know what God is? God is that emptiness we feel.
When you feel that emptiness, talk to him.” So whenever everything felt like it was going to go wrong, an emptiness in my soul, I talked to God, and he gave me everything I have. Including the opportunity to talk about me with you. Thank you for the interview and for giving space to this northeastern slum dweller.
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