Photography: Jojo Korsh

OMAR SY LOOKS EVERY BIT the gentleman thief he plays on Lupin, the French thriller that’s found a global audience and achieved hit-show status since it landed on Netflix in 2021. It’s only natural; he’s been starring as Assane Diop for four years and read the tales of Arsène Lupin, Diop’s predecessor, back when he was a kid. You immerse yourself in a character for long enough, it starts to show. But it’s also, simply, a matter of national pride. “I’m French, so we always have to represent,” Sy told me over the phone from Los Angeles the day before this past Saturday’s 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

He was prepping to get suited up in a custom look by Louis Vuitton that encapsulated everything Sy loves about fashion: high-quality fabrics, an understated air of sophistication, and just the right amount of flair with strategically-placed accessories. And he wasn’t nervous about presenting the award for Outstanding Performance By a Female Actor in a Drama Series. Instead, he was excited to soon find himself in a room full of like-minded professionals.

“It’s a party!” he said. “It’s a wonderful event, with a lot of people from the industry that I’ll be happy to see. It’s a gathering for actors, producers, filmmakers—everybody in the same room. So nothing wrong can come out of it, because it’s only good things and good vibes happening. There’s no reason to be anything but confident about it if nothing is going wrong, so I’m really relaxed. All is good.”

All is good seems to be Sy’s mentality. He has such a charismatic ease about him that, when I remarked on how wholly different he is from the characters he plays, it garnered a big laugh on his end, as if to say, Well, of course! But with Diop in his back pocket and a role playing an assassin in John Woo’s remake of The Killer coming up, it’s surprising how wholly, starkly different the actual Omar Sy is to the men he transforms into on screen.

Below, Sy gets into his personal style and his Louis Vuitton look, as well as getting into character, preparing for the SAG Awards, and taking success as it comes.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Photography: Jojo Korsh

On His Custom Louis Vuitton Look

It’s designed by Pharrell’s team. I’m so glad; this is the second time they’re doing something for me. It’s a single-breasted tuxedo jacket with heavy wool and satin trousers with a white shirt. It’s going to be pretty cool, and I have a small chain on my chest. It’s going to be amazing. I’m so proud of it already. My stylist was talking with them for months for the previews and red carpets I have, so their relationship is strong. He came back with some ideas and drawings, and for this one, it was more formal and a tuxedo vibe, which is how it came to be.

On His Personal Style

I have a lot [of style inspirations], actually. It depends on what the vibe is, but Burberry’s Daniel Lee is a great inspiration. He’s super stylish. Of course, Pharrell—I’m so happy about what he’s doing for me—and Olivier Rousteing, they’re inspiring designers. Especially Olivier, because he’s also working with the fabrics, and sometimes it’s more about the fabrics than the line or the cut.

My personal style is more about the fabric than the cut. I like to be very comfy, and be able to move. Run if I have to run, jump if I have to jump. And with presenting, having something beautiful to show is important—I’m French, so we always have to represent, so the fabric is very important to me. Something loose, with a tiny touch of color. I’m always wearing gray or black with just a little bit of red or green, but not too much. Usually, I reach for a pair of black wool trousers, sneakers, and maybe a jacket. Sometimes a hoodie. It depends. I rarely wear jeans; it’s usually wool or velvet trousers.

Photography: Jojo Korsh

On Preparing for the SAG Awards

I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, so I’m not really preparing. It’s going to be in English and I don’t want to worry, so I’m trying to be relaxed. That’s the best preparation I can have. The script is very cute and fun, and I’m glad that I’m doing it with Alexander [Skarsgård]. I have my script. I remember my lines. Now I just have to relax and wait for the moment. If you think about it too much, you’ll get too anxious and nervous, so I try to avoid that.

I try to have the most regular, basic day I can have before the craziness happens. Whether it’s putting on my Crocs, working on the garden with my daughter, I have a regular, normal daily life before that happens. Because when it’s happening, with the craziness around it, that’s when you realize you made it, but I try to avoid even the thought of it beforehand.

On Lupin‘s International Success

I’m so grateful about that. When you think about how we started the show, for us, we just wanted to have a great French TV show. And it came out to be a global thing, so I’m so grateful that the audience responded well. It’s like an award, and it gives you the confidence and strength and energy to move forward. That’s all we want, is to continue to do what we do, and a success like that gives you the fuel to move forward.

Of course I wasn’t expecting [the international reception]. Never! You can’t even think about it, because if you think about it, you won’t even leave your room to go on set. It’s too big. You have to focus on what you do day after day, minute after minute, and the rest comes. But you can never expect it. Maybe somewhere inside of you, there’s something that wants to connect to human beings universally, but you never expect the global reception, and that’s why it’s so pleasant. It was a wonderful surprise and an amazing gift from the universe.

Photography: Jojo Korsh

On Getting Into Character

It depends on the project, but for this one, I was reading Lupin as a kid, so I’ve followed this guy for so many years, imagining him doing what he’s doing. As an actor, you can relate to Lupin, because he’s a character playing other characters; for me, he’s an actor. We’re not that far off, actually.

It’s also really attractive to experience something you can’t experience in life. It’s a different life. As an actor, we can experience situations and it’s interesting to bring it to your own life. With John Woo, I love action movies, and The Killer is one of his classics. I’ve watched it so many times with my friends, it’s amazing to watch something as a teenager and be in it now. I did that with Jurassic World, too.

Photography: Jojo Korsh

On Whose Closet He Would Steal From IRL

This is very serious. Let me think…It depends. I’m thinking about Jay-Z, but he’s more my style when he’s on red carpets. He’s always very chic and very classic; I love his style on red carpets. But on a day to day, he’s not a real person, but Lupin. The one from the book, or my character, Assane Diop. I took a lot of clothes from the show in real life. All of the trousers he has, they’re very comfortable and chic fabrics, and the cut is very classic, so I love that.

Photography: Jojo Korsh

This article was originally published on Esquire.


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