Norwich actor hits Hollywood with roles alongside Penelope Cruz and Anne Hathaway
PUBLISHED: 18:00 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:57 18 June 2020
A Norwich actor has come out of retirement and landed Hollywood roles alongside superstars Penelope Cruz and Anne Hathaway.
Franciso Labbe, from Lincoln Street in the Golden Triangle, quit acting more than a decade ago to work in IT recruitment due to a lack of roles.
But after a chance encounter with director Alfosndo Cuarón, whose film Children of Men he had starred in years ago, Mr Labbe was advised to give show business another shot.
The now 46-year-old, now based in London, contacted his former agent and within months had landed a role on hit BBC drama McMafia alongside James Norton.
And in just three years the former Notre Dame High School student has appeared in a slew of blockbuster films and shows, including The Hustle with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson and an upcoming series produced by Otto Bathurs, who directed several episodes of Peaky Blinders.
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But the highlight has been playing Penelope Cruz’s stay-at-home husband in yet to be released film 355 which also stars Diane Kruger and Lupita Nyong’o.
Mr Labbe said: “When I returned to acting with McMafia I was incredibly nervous. I was even having heart palpitations. There was such a huge crew with hundreds of extras and a lot of pressure. It made me question my decision to go back. But as I have gained more confidence and started to believe in myself, the roles have come and got increasingly bigger.
“When I got the part alongside Penelope Cruz it was a surreal moment. I still have my head in the clouds to be honest. As an actor, she is flawless and everyone was blown away by how natural she was on set.”
“Working with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson was such a delight, too. To me, Anne Hathaway is such an iconic screen star and she has the memory of an Olympian when it comes to learning scripts. What shocked me was how down to earth they both were - they were both really nice people.”
Mr Labbe first entered acting after encouragement from a friend, and had a part in Steven Spielberg’s film Munich, but left the industry in 2005 due to a lack of roles.
He said: “I ask myself now why I ever left but it doesn’t feel like I’ve wasted anytime. Things are slow at the moment while the industry adjusts to the pandemic but I’ve got an exciting project, which I can’t reveal much about, in the pipeline.”
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