Marco Pigossi, Bruna Marquezine, Wagner Moura, Maria Fernanda Cândido and, now, Gabriel Leone. Brazil has been exporting some of its talent to Hollywood, and the latest actor is the youngest to join this list. At 29 years old, the carioca was recently confirmed in Michael Mann’s next film, “Ferrari”, which should temporarily take him away from an intense routine on Brazilian soil.
In the last two years, Leone could be seen in the nine o’clock soap opera “Um Lugar ao Sol”, in the series “Verdades Secretas” and “Dom”, in the documentary “Milton e o Clube da Esquina” and in the films “Piedade”, “Eduardo and Monica” and “German 2”.
In August, he appears – or voice – on the big screen as well in the animation “Além da Lenda”, currently playing, and in the musical “Meu Álbum de Amores”, which premieres next week. In September, he will play Dom Miguel in the series “200 Years”, which will celebrate the bicentennial of Independence on TV Cultura.
The works were spliced together almost without a break, but that wasn’t a problem. He is, after all, living the best phase of his professional life, he believes. “I wouldn’t say I’m at my peak, because I hope my career continues to grow, but maybe I’m at the happiest moment of it so far”, says Leone, with the laptop in his lap and leaning against the bed, on the eve of the start of filming. in Modena, in northern Italy.
In “Ferrari”, he will play Alfonso de Portago, an Anglo-Spanish Formula 1 driver with a reputation for flirting and noble origins, who died prematurely while competing in the Mille Miglia, an Italian race that will be at the center of the plot. The protagonist, tycoon Enzo Ferrari, will be played by Adam Driver.
The cast also includes Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Jack O’Connell and Patrick Dempsey. But the names, even Michael Mann’s, do not scare Leone, who says he is an undeniable cinephile and avowed fan of the American, director “of an absurd consistency” and responsible for “one of the films of my life, ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ “.
For the carioca, who remembers that he was the son of actors like Antonio Fagundes and Cássia Kiss on screen, being in such a strong cast is like fuel. He shoots in Italy until October, after changing his look for the character and taking motorsport lessons. “Ferrari” does not yet have a premiere date, but until then there will be no lack of opportunity to see and hear Leone – in Portuguese.
“Entering the American market with the Michael Mann seal of quality is incredible, but I don’t think that now my international career begins. This is my career and that’s it, because I don’t want to stop doing Brazilian work. in Rodrigo [Santoro]in Wagner [Moura] and in Alice [Braga]which do not separate the two.”
With the latter, he starred in “Eduardo e Mônica”, which hit theaters in January with a reinterpretation of the homonymous song composed by Renato Russo. When talking about work, the carioca does not hide his excitement, since “before being an actor, I’m a fan of Legião Urbana”.
It was with the band’s songs that he started to play the guitar, starting the formation he uses now in the musical “Meu Álbum de Amores”. Directed by Rafael Gomes, the feature has an original score by Odair José and Arnaldo Antunes, in a tribute to the romantic songbook that features Leone in two roles – that of a starched dentist who suffers for love and that of his father, a corny singer who invades the city. plot in colorful video clips.
In the project, he worked with partners from the stages, where his roots are. Leone began acting in theater productions as a teenager, until, at the invitation of a producer, he made a cameo in “The Big Family” – his debut on screen, which next year will complete a decade.
From there, he alternated between television and theater work. In the first, he joined the cast of “Malhação” and “Santo Forte”, until reaching the seminal season of “Verdades Secretas” and gaining the necessary projection to win big roles in “Velho Chico”, “Os Dias Eram Assim” and “Onde The Strong are born”.
In the second, he released his voice as Roberto Carlos from “Chacrinha, o Musical” and in the Broadway imports “Wicked” and “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”, two shows in which sensual types lived. In the first, he twirled around in pants glued to his thighs, while in the second, he sang his passion for the protagonist kneeling, simulating an in-and-out with the air in front of him.
Leone says he wants to get back on stage, where he says his “essence” is, and, who knows, even record an album, but for now the schedule is too busy. “I really like to have time for the things I do, to study, dive in, improve myself, so that it’s done well. I don’t want to do it for the sake of doing it. So for now I’m taking advantage of the opportunities that have appeared in movies and on TV.”
The future, in fact, is approaching full of works in the audiovisual sector. In September, he will play Dom Miguel in “200 Years”, a series that will celebrate the bicentennial of Independence with the boldness of Luiz Fernando Carvalho, and next year he should return for the second season of “Dom”, already recorded.
On the big screen, “Duetto” is awaiting release, the story of an Italian-Brazilian family headed by Marieta Severo and Giancarlo Giannini, directed by Vicente Amorim.
Also on the horizon are an adaptation of a short story by Milton Hatoum, “O Adeus do Comandante”, directed by Sérgio Machado, “Tão Parecidos”, by Maurício Farias, and the recently announced “Barba Ensopada de Sangue”, based on the work of Daniel Galera and directed by Aly Muritiba. He was also cast to play Ney Matogrosso in a Globoplay series – that is, if an imbroglio involving copyright allows it.
Projects seem to be lining up for Leone, but that doesn’t mean that audiovisual in Brazil is doing well, he says. He labels Bolsonaro’s administration as destructive not only to culture, but to other areas, and believes that the elections will shake up the country’s political direction very soon.
“If it gets worse than it is, things end. It is impossible to remain with this government, it is inhuman, above all, as the pandemic proved”, he says. “It’s sad to think that the improvement won’t be immediate, because whoever wins will take a country totally broken, in shambles. It’s with sadness that I say this, but it’s reality. But we have to hope that better days turn it.”
And he takes the opportunity to deliver his vote, which, after several jabs at the current Presidency in recent months, no longer seems so secret. “Considering the polls, I think that any reasonable person understands that there are two sides in the second round – although I would like this to be resolved in the first round. The priority is the discontinuity of this government that is there, so I have no doubt that my vote will be for Lula.”