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

Gian Franco Rodriguez stars as Victor Hugo in Halston

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

There are a large amount of unforgettable figures in Netflix’s Halston, most of which are drawn from serious-life personalities. But probably none is rather so powerful as Victor Hugo, Halston’s longtime lover who is normally deemed the iconic designer’s downfall. In the five-episode collection, now streaming, Hugo is performed by newcomer Gian Franco Rodriguez, who embraced the tempestuous, dramatic character opposite Ewan McGregor’s Halston. The pair’s dynamic is unforgettable as Victor operates his way from simply call boy—reportedly named for his huge anatomy—to Halston’s spouse and window dresser. It is a severe showcase for Rodriguez, who counts Halston as his initially huge job.

The New York-dependent actor was initially invited to audition for a distinct, smaller function at the finish of November in 2019 (that position was inevitably slash from the sequence), but requested if he could try for Victor rather. “I acquired the breakdown of all the characters and I recognized they were being seeking for a Venezuelan character and it sounded like a lot of fun,” Rodriguez notes. “A wonderful, extremely spectacular character.” It took a number of months of callbacks and waiting around, but Rodriguez ultimately scored the part in February, just after Halston experienced by now started manufacturing. Regardless of the role currently being Rodriguez’s first significant component and initially time performing on Tv set, he didn’t really feel a feeling of strain to get it right.

“I preferred to be in a position to put it all out there.”

“I was relieved,” he remembers. “It was far more tense to not know, but at the time you get the ‘yes’ it’s less difficult. I’m a fairly good person—I try to emphasis on the excellent parts—so I wasn’t imagining I will need to get this ideal. How am I going to do it? It really created me experience extremely self-assured. I bought it for a explanation. I received it simply because I can do it. So I did not get anxious when I heard 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 get ready to participate in Victor, Rodriguez did considerable exploration on Hugo’s daily life, seeing documentaries and outdated online video footage of Hugo that is not readily available to the community. He examine all the things he could uncover, and also investigated Halston and his life. The very best resource turned out to be a link with just one of Hugo’s near buddies, who invited Rodriguez to his residence.

“I satisfied with him and he was the most useful part of the system,” the actor states. “I had so many thoughts for him—I was basically executing the career you’re doing appropriate now. I questioned massive, important queries and little queries, everything I could get from him. He fulfilled Victor just before Victor even understood Halston, so he noticed him going by way of the total approach of assembly him and how significantly he adjusted by means of the decades. He was at the healthcare facility the day Victor died. He experienced a box of some of Victor’s stuff and I really bought to maintain Victor’s Venezuelan passport, which was very cool since I also have a Venezuelan passport. It was a surreal encounter.”

Halston Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

Discovering about Victor’s daily life and character wasn’t pretty plenty of for Rodriguez, nevertheless. The actor also wished to renovate himself physically. He dropped pounds by doing two hrs of cardio a day and slicing his energy to match Hugo’s slender physique and, of program, donned Hugo’s signature mustache. Rodriguez also embrace his previous thick Venezuelan accent, which he has labored the past ten years to get rid of (his present accent is pretty faint).

“Listen, this was my initially time taking part in everything on Television and truly working on Television set for the initial time soon after many years of preparation,” Rodriguez explains of his all-in tactic. “So I wanted to be capable to place it all out there. I felt like this was a really superior possibility for me and I desired to be able to use it as a lot as I could.”

Rodriguez, who has previously only appeared in shorter films, was informed both of the massive prospect Halston presented an up-and-coming actor, but also the importance of getting a Venezuelan actor acquiring to choose on a Venezuelan function in Hollywood. It felt like a notable second for the actor, who grew up in a Venezuelan-Italian household and moved to Los Angeles a 10 years ago. He’s been interested in performing considering that he was a kid, but in no way assumed it was a probable vocation because people today never improve up in Venezuela considering it a job.

“When I arrived to study English in New York in 2010 I heard about this performing faculty and that concept received into me,” Rodriguez says. “I started off knowing that in this state you could truly see it as a profession. I went again to Venezuela immediately after the six months right here and the prepare was to just got back again and stay there. But I just couldn’t. I could not get that out of my head, the reality that I could pursue acting below. I just arrived back and went for it.”

Gian Franco Rodriguez in Halston

Gian Franco Rodriguez in Halston. Jojo Whilden/Netflix

That chance has been well worth it for Rodriguez, specially considering that Halston turned out to be extra enjoyment than he could have imagined. Despite a 7-month delay on output because of to the pandemic, Rodriguez felt wholly related to the solid. Just before diving into personal sexual intercourse scenes with McGregor, Rodriguez was equipped to shell out time with him on and off established, enabling the pair to build a chemistry that translated into the episodes.

“It’s not just about being capable to get the prospect to be on Television set and do a character as a position,” he says. “But it’s also the actuality that every person was so wonderful. It was very unique. The whole cast—we really obtained alongside. It’s not just a thing we did for the present. We really do come to feel like a relatives and consider to invest time with each other exterior the screen any time we can. By the time Ewan and I shot our to start with scene we had been with each other lengthy enough to feel like it wasn’t our to start with scene.”

“I basically got to keep Victor’s Venezuelan passport, which was quite amazing simply because I also have a Venezuelan passport.”

Eventually, Rodriguez desired to humanized a really difficult male. Though Hugo may possibly look like a villain in Halston’s tale, he experienced his possess factors for anything he did.

“The major obstacle was to make guaranteed that persons could understand him in some techniques and not just see him as a undesirable individual,” the actor points out. “He was a true individual. He went by way of some traumas. He went by some troubles when he was more youthful, just like most people else. I required to make confident men and women would fully grasp him and not decide him so much.”

He provides, “I want to keep performing after this, but I also want to make sure I’m heading for the ideal figures. People who existing a problem and who are complex. Figures who have distinct layers. I like people that are really hard for other men and women to have an understanding of. Really hard for other people not to decide, like Victor. I want to obtain a way to get people to empathize with them.”

Halston is readily available to stream on Netflix.


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