Father, gentleman, thief

Omar Sy talks about Lupin

Mystery shrouded Netflix's original TV show Lupin the first time it was announced as people wondered if this was going to be a modern version of the famous gentleman burglar a la BBC's Sherlock Holmes. But upon its release in January 2020, audiences were more than pleased and riveted at the story of Assane Diop, who employs the fictional thief's strategies, to go after the man who framed his father.

George Kay, the showrunner, has said in a press conference, "The central thing is to make it as fun as possible." But in describing Part 2, which drops today, he continues, "Assane's story gets more intense. You know where we leave off at the end of Part One. It's obviously a really intense personal situation."

The filming of Part 2 was a little complicated because, y'know, Covid. "I could either go back to London and stay here [in France] or I could be here and never go back to London. So it was hard but we were really well supported," says Kay. Even one of the show's stars, Ludivine Sagnier who plays Assane's ex-wife, Claire, described a difficult moment in filming: "We couldn't turn on the air con in the train while filming and it was so hot. We were begging the Covid guy to let us turn it on! But we managed."

Guru speaks to Omar Sy, who plays Assane and serves as an executive producer, about the global popularity of the show, how the concept was conceived and Assane's journey to ultimately right enduring wrongs.

How does it feel knowing that the show isn't just a French or European show but that it's being watched all over the world?

We are so surprised! We're happy, thrilled and very excited because now we have the opportunity to do more and be more free with what we want to do with the show. It's so cool and it gives me the occasion to thank you guys, especially in Thailand. It's something really big and we are so happy and grateful. So thank you to all the people in Thailand!

Was it always the plan that the show wouldn't be a contemporary and modern version of Lupin but instead will follow a man inspired by the character?

Yeah, that was my only condition to do it. In France, we've had a lot of Lupin movies and TV shows, so I wanted to make something different. The only way to have something really new, and to make it different, was to give the book a good place in the show so the book is a character itself. That's the only way to have a new and more interesting version of the story.

You started your career doing sketch comedy. How did that prepare you for the role of Assane Diop?

Assane disguises himself a lot, like having just a pair of glasses to become someone else. I used to do a lot of sketches like that, just wearing a hat or something to become someone else. All of that helped me a lot with Assane, and it was really fun to go back to this kind of work.

Do you think Assane is on a quest for justice or revenge?

It's both because he seeks revenge for his dad to get justice. He knows that his dad is innocent so he seeks revenge because of what Pelligrini did to his dad and at the same time he wants to make things right. How he's going to do that is by getting justice, so it's both.

In the show, Assane is a big fan of Lupin and takes inspiration from him. Do you have any fictional characters you're inspired by? Why do you think people are always finding fictional characters to be inspired by?

I think humanity has worked like that since the beginning. We've always had stories in our lives. Stories are our way to learn. We have a legacy from stories and it's our way to move forward, our way to learn, our way to be inspired and our way to do better. There's fictional people but there's also real people in our life, but I think you really need stories because it's our way to learn and communicate. I think we've made a difference as human beings because of stories. When you think about it, everything is a story, so it's our way to live and communicate.

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