For Brazilian actor Lucas Zaffari, acting comes naturally. Every role is an opportunity to better himself. Every role is a chance to learn. And because of that, he is continuously sought after.
Zaffari has a starring role in the short film Locked. Zaffari plays Simon, a 1970’s photographer the finds the love of his life while filming in a park. As time goes by, their relationship starts to have conflicts. One night everything goes south and a series of events occur to make Simon’s life unbearable.
“My character, Simon, is very timid and never had a purpose in life,” described Zaffari. “His life was dull and monotonous until the day Lily crossed his camera and fills his life with color.”
At first, Zaffari was invited by the director Xueru Tang to play to role of a policeman, but instead was asked to audition for the leading role of Simon.
“As soon as I read the script I was drawn to it. That was the first click. The way it was written made me imagine it beautifully in my head,” he said. “After the audition I remember Xueru hugging me and happily saying I was Simon.”
“I knew Xueru would really commit to her film and she did,” he added. “Her directing was on- point, I could understand what she wanted just by her behavior and it was amazing to see her passion towards this film.”
Tang believes that Lucas embodied the role of Simon, and describes him as the “one take king.”
“I really like working with Lucas, he is an exceptional actor and super talented,” she said. “During the whole process Lucas’s performance really touched me. The first day, for the first shot, we took a long time to set the scene up, and as soon as he finished makeup and wardrobe, I saw him lying on the bed. I asked him why he was there and he said ‘I need to get familiar with my bed, my room, here is my home, I lived here for 5 years, I’m Simon.’ That moment really, really touched me. I’ve never seen an actor do this.”
“Lucas will do everything he can to help the film. I’m super happy to choose Lucas as my Simon, and I’m so proud of him,” she added.
The film, which was shot on a sound stage built for the project, presented some challenges for Zaffari, but provided great learning experiences.
“The underwater scene was challenging in many ways. Besides the water temperature not being ideal to stay for more than 2 hours, I was supposed to fall on my back in the pool, but facing up underwater I had to constantly blow air from my nose, otherwise I’d drown, so I could never stay too long underwater,” he said, describing the first underwater scene he has had to film. “But with all the commitment and talent of the crew I strongly believe that we captured a beautiful moment.”
On set, Zaffari was recognized for overcoming any challenge he was presented with, which the cast and crew found very impressive.
“Lucas is really good at what he does because of his devotion and passion for the character he plays. For one shot, he had to sit completely still for over 30 minutes, and he did it with no complaints,” said Johanna Coelho, the director of photography on the film. “Working with Lucas was an amazing experience. He was extremely professional on set, always very cooperative to work with the cinematography department to make the shot work. I was always impressed behind my lens, watching him getting into character so fast and always succeeding performance every take.”
Zaffari also said that although he and Simon have their similarities, there is a large part of the character that is the complete opposite from himself.
“I was really interested in studying and working on that character because that is what I’m passionate about acting,” he said. “Every job, and every character is a new opportunity to learn and to study human behavior, and to be able to show that in a character is so rewarding for me.”
Zaffari believes that the most rewarding part of being cast in Locked was being able to work with such a talented crew.
“The cooperation with so many talented people created a wonderful creative environment that undoubtedly made this film extraordinary. It was beautiful to see this cooperation working, they really commit to the tasks and that flourished the environment with productiveness and creativeness. I remember when an unexpected blackout of the whole block stopped the production and in literally less than 10 minutes the crew got the generator on with all the lights of the set back on, ready to be filmed. That was impressive,” he said. “My partner Alyona Chase was incredible. She was really opened to rehearse and to talk about the scene and motivations of the characters. She really committed to the project and it’s great to work with talented and determined people. As an actor it’s really important to use stimuli for your performance and Alyona was amazing in giving 110% for every shot.”
“I was reminded of the importance of group collaboration,” he added. “Being part of this project and paying attention to the crew showed me how important is to have a good solid group working with you. I saw in everyone working on this project the common goal and that created a perfect environment for it.”
Locked is intended to be released at next years big film festivals, including Cannes and Sundance.