The Heartbeat of Acting: Exclusive Interview with Gabriel Luna

Working with us for his second appearance in the magazine, Gabriel Luna shares his latest projects and insights into his craft of acting

Trench coat by John Varvatos; hoodie by XIVI; T-shirt by Tom Ford

Gabriel Luna is a familiar face in Hollywood, appearing in various TV shows and movies throughout his career. With his dynamic acting skills and on-screen charisma, Luna has made a name for himself in the industry. This year will be exciting for Luna, with the success of “The Last of Us” and his upcoming project “FUBAR” alongside the industry giant. In this exclusive interview, Luna reveals the secrets behind his success, creative process and career aspirations.

DAMAN: You’ve been acting for quite a while now; how has your approach to your craft evolved over the years?
GL: I’ve been acting for 22 years and it’s been paramount throughout my career to bring authenticity and naturalism to every job I take. As a result, I need to live as full a life as possible and run towards that which makes me afraid. Thus, I can access and apply those experiences at the moment. To arrive at the moment and think, “I’ve been here before; I know what this feels like.”

DA: In Netflix’s upcoming action-comedy, “FUBAR,” you’re starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. Can you tell us about your character, Boro, in the series and what it was like working with the legend?
Gabriel Luna: In “FUBAR,” my character Boro Polonia is an incredibly charismatic Oxford and Wharton-educated businessman who applies those skills to a career in the illegal arms trade. He’s known Arnold’s character nearly all his life, or so he thinks. It was a lot of fun playing Boro. Working with Arnold again was the icing on the cake.

Jacket by Zadig&Voltaire; t-shirt by ICEBERG; sunglasses by Garrett Leight

DA: What did you learn from working alongside Schwarzenegger as an actor and a performer?
GL: Always, it’s his discipline. He’s consistently putting forth the ideas and the effort to be his best at all times. Extremely admirable.

DA: “FUBAR” has been described as a high-octane, action-packed comedy. What  was your experience like filming the series, and how did you prepare for the physical demands of your role?
GL: I was lucky. This role was less physical than most of my other work. I still trained hard because how could you not when Arnold was around? [Laughs]. In the business world, some stand in front of the desk and others sit behind the desk. Boro sits behind a very fine and expensive desk.

Jacket by John Varvatos; shirt by Zadig&Voltaire; sunglasses by Garrett Leight

DA: Let’s talk about “The Last  of Us,” where you play Tommy,  especially since the show’s  second season is confirmed.  As someone who also plays  the games, what do you look  forward to from the upcoming  season?
GL: Season two is going to be phenomenal. There is so much I look forward to. You all will have to wait and see.

DA: Now that the show’s first season has completed its initial run, what do you think  about your performance? Are you satisfied or are there still  things you wished you’d done  differently if given the chance?
GL: Looking back on Season one of “The Last of Us,” I’m very proud of our collective efforts. We came up with the best storytelling solutions to bring the game to life and as a fan of both, I’m happy that the audience loved what we made. I wouldn’t change anything on my end. You have to live with it and let it go.

Shirt by Zadig&Voltaire

DA: How would you describe your working relationship with the other “The Last of Us” cast members and crew?
GL: The cast and crew felt like a family, a tribe. One that started with Neil Druckmann, Naughty Dog and everyone involved with creating the game’s original story, who widened their embrace to include Craig [series creator Craig Mazin] and all of us who made the show. I have a special love for every artist I met on this job.

DA: As an actor, you must often tap into deep emotions and personal experiences to bring  authenticity to your roles. How do you balance the demands of your work with your own emotional well-being?
GL: Returning home from a job, or what I call “re-entry,” can be tough. It’s literally returning from another world. It takes time for the character to dissolve away. For me, spending as much time with my wife doing everyday things, chores, gardening and making lunch is essential. Getthe rhythm back.

“Acting is truth in the present moment. Music is truth spoken in a universal language. Playing music helps me rivet myself down to what I’m feeling at a specific moment”

DA: How do you care for yourself both on and off set?
GL:  Water, water, water. And also music.

DA: You’ve worked in both film and television. How do you adapt to the different pacing and styles of those mediums?
GL: Working on film and television require much of what we call “hurry up and wait.” One has more of this time on a movie set, as a TV shoot generally moves faster. That said, you should never wait. It’s a matter of keeping your mind and body at a steady hum, resonating with poise and readiness.

DA: What are some of the most fulfilling experiences you’ve had as an actor and what keeps you motivated to pursue this career?
GL:  Acting has given me so much. The opportunity to see the world and to learn and feel deeply. I’ve acquired training that cultivates empathy and consideration. In its application, I’ve discovered countless facets of my own being. Theexperience fuels the following experience and keeps me motivated to continue.

Blazer by Rodd & Gunn; shirt by Tiger of Sweden

DA: We learned that you’re also a director and producer. How did you become interested, and how do these roles differ from acting in front of the camera?
GL: Over the years, I’ve learned the heartbeat of a movie set, so I’m aware of time and what is required from all departments to achieve what we intend to accomplish in that time frame. As a director or producer, this is the mindset. Taking in the whole picture-that’s what I love most about it.

DA: In addition to acting, you’re also a musician. How does your experience with music influence your work as an actor and vice versa?
GL: Acting is truth in the present moment. Music is truth spoken in a universal language. Playing music helps me rivet down to what I feel at a specific moment. In turn, that helps keep me stay in the present.

Jacket by Rodd & Gunn; sweater by AllSaints; pants by John Varvatos; boots by Lucchese

DA: Do you have any plans to pursue music further?
GL: I do. I’ve been releasing music slowly over the last few years and I’ve been playing a bunch more live shows of late. It’s something I plan on devoting much more energy to.

Jacket by John Varvatos; shirt by Zadig&Voltaire

DA: Last but not least, what’s your vision for your career, and what kind of legacy would you like to leave behind as an actor and artist?
GL: I want my family to be proud and to earn the respect of those I work with.