You are in Switzerland for the Zurich Film Festival, among other things. Which designer are you wearing today?

Umm… To be honest, I have no idea what I am wearing today. These are pieces that come from different places in the world. My sweater is from Los Angeles. The trousers are from Hawaii, I think. But I am not sure if designer brands or fashion in general is something that really counts for me. I think what counts is style. Because style is something personal, fashion is not. Sometimes I see people wearing certain pieces just because it is the trend. And they don’t bring their personality into it.

You took acting lessons in Paris in 2005 and already had one of your biggest roles in the James Bond movie «Casino Royale» in 2006. Didn't that overwhelm you?

The movie was big, but the role was not. But I’ve always been very ambitious and after being able to touch some summits with music, I was very motivated to go bigger in acting. Because what we did with our band Sens Unik was amazing, but we were happy with what we had. We didn’t take more risks to go further. So, when I started my acting career, I said: Okay, now to the next level. But yes, I realized dreams that at that time I was not thinking I could realize. I mean working with Al Pacino or being in a James Bond movie - I didn’t think I would be doing things like that. But ambition has always been there.

You've been living in Los Angeles since 2010. Is Hollywood really as hostile to men as they always say?

That’s funny. I know that sounds strange, but today being a white man in his fifties in Hollywood is not easy. But I am very happy that today, in 2022, being a black woman in Hollywood is easier than it was. It’s fantastic to see this world changing this way.

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In what sense is it not easy today being a white man in Hollywood?

Because people love to be in a revenge state of mind. What the white male industry has brought in the past needs a revenge. But not everyone is guilty of what happened in the past. And I am not, I guess. But I don’t want to complain because it’s been so easy for such a long time. I just want to say that it changed a lot.

What changed?

The Me-too-movement has really brought something new in the Hollywood industry. You see way more women of all ages on screen, in big ads – it’s obvious when you go to Los Angeles. The difference is gigantic. So, these changes are positive, and it took a long time. But now it seems like the change is done very fast.

Does it bother you that most of the leading roles in films are taken by women?

No, it doesn’t bother me. In the last year, most of the auditions I’ve been reading for, had a female leading role. I think this is great. But America has always worked in extremes. So now the trend is: We want a female leading role! I just hope that this trend is not just a trend and Hollywood is doing this to show the world that we are good people. You know Hulk – the green superhero?

Carlos Leal
Women can be heroes without necessarily copying men and be as stupid as men have been.


Now they do the female version of it. I don’t think that’s necessary. Do we really need that? Women can be heroes without necessarily copying men and be as stupid as men have been. Men have been so stupid, promoting war, promoting violence, promoting Machismo, strength and power.

Did turning 50 stress you out?

For me everything is stressful. I live in stress and anxiety. I always look cool and happy with my smile… but I am a fucking stressed, man! All the time. And that’s a decision I made in my life to have stressful jobs, like being a musician in Switzerland and then being an actor in Hollywood. Because the stress doesn't necessarily come from the amount of work. It comes from the insecurity of what is coming tomorrow. So that choice, I’ve made it for this life. Hopefully, in my next life, I am going to be a little bit less stressed.

So, age is not something that bothers you in particular?

No, not necessarily. There are still a lot of roles for men of my age. So, my age is not stressing me besides the fact that you need to take care of your health a little bit more. And when you are always running, it’s difficult to take time for your health.

What is your anti-aging routine? Surely, in superficial Los Angeles this is important?

I don’t have one. I never put anything on my face. Sometimes I don’t even care for my hair. I have zero anti-aging routine.

Carlos Leal
This couch thing – I am not sure if it still exists. Or maybe I have never been aware of it because I wasn’t a woman.

How far are you willing to go for a role?

Ohhh… (Chuckles.) Couch! (Longer break.) Noooo, I am kidding. This couch thing – I am not sure if it still exists. Or maybe I have never been aware of it because I'm not a woman. I know there are always people that try to take advantage of their position. It has been like this forever. But nowadays, it’s so dirty, it’s such a shame to do this. That’s why I really think that producers and directors stopped doing this. But maybe I am wrong, again because I am not a woman. Also, as a woman or as a man to fall into that trap, to need to go to the couch to get something, is also not okay. It’s wrong on both sides: The guy who has the power and can give a position to a person who is going to give her os his body. But on the other side, also that person that wants to try to get the producer… I think it’s so old-school bad, that anybody that would do it, I would have zero respect.

How else do you make it as a man in Hollywood?

With talent. That’s always been my thing. I have no connections. I have connections in Switzerland and a little bit in Spain. In Hollywood, nobody knows me. I am no one. The only way for me to get something is to show my talent and to work my ass off. That’s it.

Your latest film is «Father Stu», you play alongside Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson.

It was number one on Netflix USA a few days ago! I am playing a small role, but this is very cool. Very cool.

How often was there a catfight on set?

You are just a lucky dude if you can work as an actor. So, at this level, people like Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, these people are fucking nice. They are not pretentious; they are not showing off. Because they know that this industry is so hard! So, when you work, just be happy and don’t try to be a diva or behave like the most important person in the world. You are not saving lives; you are just an actor. At this level, people know that. If you have this attitude, there is no catfight. Not between men, and not between women either.

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What diet are you using to prepare for your roles?

I’ve been lucky that I don’t look too bad. I am tall and thin. But I also realized that, especially for someone like me who is over fifty, beauty is more than physical. It’s just a question of how good you feel in your head and what kind of world you can share with the people. Now, lately I have been doing intermittent fasting: It’s 16 hours between the last time you ate the day before and the first time you eat the day after. And it actually helps to be a little bit more focused and to have my beer belly getting slightly smaller. Because this one here (points to his belly): I have this belly ring here and there is nothing I can do about it.

Two years ago you released new music: «Les brunes et les blondes / Highway». In the video, you wake up in the bathtub after a night of partying, wander through the apartment and are soon surrounded by pretty young women. Is such an appearance appropriate for a family man?

This character that you see in this short film is Charles. Charles is my alter ego. He is imagining these women. They are not real. Charles is a lonely person and used to have women around him, used to be shining in the world. But now, he is not anymore. So, that’s what you see as this character. And I love this character. Because even if he has this kind of coming down, he is assuming it totally. And I like him for that.

How much Charles is in you?

Me in my real life… I am married. We are a very modern couple. What does that mean in 2022 – I am not necessarily going to tell you exactly what it means. My wife and I are trying to live in 2022 the way we think people should live in 2022. That means maybe having doubts about monogamy, that’s an old-school thing for us.

Carlos Leal
My wife is the strongest human being I could ever imagine. I am very lucky to be her husband.

You have two children. Who actually looks after them while you're traveling?

Right now, my wife is taking care of them. She is also an actress and an acting coach. At the moment, she is shooting a TV-series in the US. My job brings me more need to travel than my wife. So, I am lucky to have her, and that she is okay to take care of the kids. As soon as I go back, I try to help more and take charge of the kids a little bit more. Also, we don’t have an easy life. One of our children has health issues and it’s not easy. We are a very solidaric family. Together we are very strong, we help each other a lot, we love each other so much. We are going through challenges in life that we didn’t choose for, but they are here. So, we have to deal with them and we need to be strong. And my wife is the strongest human being I could ever imagine. I am very lucky to be her husband.

Are you worried about missing out on something in your kids' development because you're on the road a lot?

I am not traveling that much. The last time I was traveling for longer, that was for three months, I brought them with me for three weeks in the middle of it. I always find a solution to not being far away from my family for more than four weeks. For me it’s my maximum. I already suffer after five days. Mainly because of my attachment to my kids. If I need to decide on a production and they say: Listen, it’s in China, six months and your family cannot come, and you can’t go back in between – then I say: It’s not going to be possible for me.

You have a son and a daughter. How are you raising them to be feminists?

I guess my kids are really growing up in a world that's much more balanced than it was when I was young. I think we need to be careful with the word or concept of feminism. Because the concept of feminism could be very positive for women but also very negative.

In what sense?

I understand every move that is being done by women to bring back the balance at the right level. But again, I hope women will not make the mistakes and the errors that men have been making forever. Because women are better than men. They don’t want to go to war, they don’t want to cut throats. They wear life inside of them. They have a better perception of what life means. And I just hope that women, at some point, are not going to copy men and that they are going to keep their sensitivity as the creator of life. So, feminism, yes for the good reasons: Equilibrium needs to be done. It has been bad, very bad – but that doesn’t mean that now it needs to be translated into revenge. Because revenge is not the solution. If there is revenge now, there will be revenge from men.

Carlos Leal
I am not interested in that Macho world and being strong as a man.

What kind of masculinity are you exemplifying to your children?

I am a very fragile person. I am the one crying in the family more than my wife. For my kids, having a mother that is stronger than the father, it’s psychologically very interesting. I don’t want to be the male, that is like (makes masculine sounds). That fucking figure has not been doing good for my own family. I am not interested in that Macho world and being strong as a man. I mean look at me: I might look strong but my heart can be a sensitive heart and I don’t want to force myself to be a superhero. Some men are sensitive, artistic and fragile, that’s definitely me.