Halston: How Gian Franco Rodriguez Stepped Into Victor Hugo’s Shoes

Gian Franco Rodriguez stars as Victor Hugo in Halston

Gian Franco Rodriguez stars as Victor Hugo in Halston. Stephanie Girard

There are a whole lot of memorable people in Netflix’s Halston, most of which are drawn from actual-life personalities. But most likely none is fairly so powerful as Victor Hugo, Halston’s longtime lover who is often regarded as the iconic designer’s downfall. In the 5-episode sequence, now streaming, Hugo is played by newcomer Gian Franco Rodriguez, who embraced the tempestuous, extraordinary character reverse Ewan McGregor’s Halston. The pair’s dynamic is memorable as Victor performs his way from phone boy—reportedly named for his massive anatomy—to Halston’s associate and window dresser. It is a major showcase for Rodriguez, who counts Halston as his very first huge undertaking.

The New York-based mostly actor was originally invited to audition for a different, lesser role at the close of November in 2019 (that role was inevitably cut from the collection), but questioned if he could try out for Victor as an alternative. “I got the breakdown of all the figures and I understood they ended up looking for a Venezuelan character and it sounded like a large amount of fun,” Rodriguez notes. “A excellent, very dramatic character.” It took various months of callbacks and waiting, but Rodriguez ultimately scored the part in February, immediately after Halston experienced already begun production. Inspite of the purpose currently being Rodriguez’s initial big element and initially time functioning on Tv set, he did not feel a sense of tension to get it ideal.

“I wanted to be capable to place it all out there.”

“I was relieved,” he remembers. “It was much more annoying to not know, but the moment you get the ‘yes’ it is less difficult. I’m a rather favourable person—I consider to target on the good parts—so I wasn’t thinking I need to get this appropriate. How am I going to do it? It essentially produced me truly feel pretty confident. I received it for a reason. I got it because I can do it. So I did not get anxious when I listened to the news.”

(L to R) Gian Franco Rodriguez as Victor Hugo, Ewan McGregor as Halston, Rebecca Dayan as Elsa Peretti in Halston. Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

To prepare to perform Victor, Rodriguez did extensive study on Hugo’s lifestyle, seeing documentaries and previous online video footage of Hugo that is not readily available to the community. He read through almost everything he could find, and also investigated Halston and his lifetime. The ideal resource turned out to be a connection with one particular of Hugo’s shut friends, who invited Rodriguez to his property.

“I achieved with him and he was the most handy element of the approach,” the actor claims. “I had so many issues for him—I was generally performing the job you’re undertaking correct now. I requested major, significant thoughts and little inquiries, everything I could get from him. He satisfied Victor just before Victor even knew Halston, so he saw him going by means of the full course of action of conference him and how considerably he altered as a result of the several years. He was at the medical center the day Victor died. He experienced a box of some of Victor’s things and I actually got to maintain Victor’s Venezuelan passport, which was quite neat mainly because I also have a Venezuelan passport. It was a surreal experience.”

Halston Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

Mastering about Victor’s everyday living and personality was not fairly ample for Rodriguez, although. The actor also wanted to renovate himself bodily. He shed excess weight by undertaking two hrs of cardio a working day and reducing his energy to match Hugo’s slender physique and, of course, donned Hugo’s signature mustache. Rodriguez also embrace his previous thick Venezuelan accent, which he has labored the past ten years to lose (his current accent is quite faint).

“Listen, this was my first time playing anything at all on Tv set and actually performing on Tv set for the 1st time immediately after years of preparing,” Rodriguez points out of his all-in method. “So I desired to be capable to place it all out there. I felt like this was a very excellent option for me and I wished to be capable to use it as significantly as I could.”

Rodriguez, who has formerly only appeared in brief films, was aware the two of the large opportunity Halston presented an up-and-coming actor, but also the significance of being a Venezuelan actor obtaining to get on a Venezuelan position in Hollywood. It felt like a notable instant for the actor, who grew up in a Venezuelan-Italian family members and moved to Los Angeles a decade back. He’s been intrigued in acting since he was a child, but hardly ever considered it was a probable profession mainly because people today do not develop up in Venezuela taking into consideration it a occupation.

“When I arrived to analyze English in New York in 2010 I read about this performing school and that thought acquired into me,” Rodriguez says. “I commenced noticing that in this place you could essentially see it as a occupation. I went back again to Venezuela soon after the 6 months listed here and the prepare was to just obtained back again and continue to be there. But I just couldn’t. I could not get that out of my head, the actuality that I could go after acting in this article. I just arrived back and went for it.”

Gian Franco Rodriguez in HalstonGian Franco Rodriguez in Halston

Gian Franco Rodriguez in Halston. Jojo Whilden/Netflix

That risk has been value it for Rodriguez, specially considering the fact that Halston turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than he could have imagined. Irrespective of a 7-thirty day period delay on production because of to the pandemic, Rodriguez felt fully linked to the solid. Just before diving into intimate sex scenes with McGregor, Rodriguez was ready to spend time with him on and off set, allowing the pair to create a chemistry that translated into the episodes.

“It’s not just about staying ready to get the opportunity to be on Tv set and do a character as a job,” he says. “But it’s also the truth that all people was so excellent. It was really particular. The total cast—we truly acquired together. It’s not just one thing we did for the demonstrate. We truly do sense like a family members and test to commit time alongside one another outside the house the screen whenever we can. By the time Ewan and I shot our first scene we had been collectively extensive ample to truly feel like it was not our initial scene.”

“I really got to keep Victor’s Venezuelan passport, which was quite neat mainly because I also have a Venezuelan passport.”

Ultimately, Rodriguez wished to humanized a pretty difficult man. Even though Hugo may possibly look like a villain in Halston’s tale, he experienced his personal reasons for anything he did.

“The greatest problem was to make absolutely sure that people could have an understanding of him in some approaches and not just see him as a bad human being,” the actor explains. “He was a actual man or woman. He went as a result of some traumas. He went by means of some problems when he was more youthful, just like everyone else. I needed to make guaranteed men and women would understand him and not decide him so a great deal.”

He provides, “I want to continue to keep operating after this, but I also want to make positive I’m heading for the appropriate people. Characters who present a challenge and who are advanced. People who have distinct layers. I like figures that are really hard for other folks to have an understanding of. Challenging for other individuals not to decide, like Victor. I want to find a way to get men and women to empathize with them.”


Halston is out there to stream on Netflix.

https://www.youtube.com/look at?v=yCgdWHwEnrg

‘Halston’ Star Gian Franco Rodriguez Unpacks the Complex Victor Hugo

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