Lukas Gage On 'Road House', Being A Gemini & Fearlessly Taking Career Leaps Of Faith

By Bianca Gracie | March 20, 2024

This interview is part of EDITION's "Class of Now" feature, found in our March '24 "Next Wave" Issue. Click here to subscribe.

4E9A3871.jpgPhoto by Phil Chester

Lukas Gage is an acting daredevil. Through his roles in Emmy-winning series like The White Lotus and Euphoria, along with the Netflix phenomenon You, his characters give you a boost of adrenaline, leaving you wanting more. And there’s no signs of slowing Gage down: He’s currently in FX’s Fargo series and Netflix’s Dead Boy Detectives, stars alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in Amazon Prime’s Road House reboot (out March 21) and recently joined the cast of the Smile sequel.

I was reading that it was initially Donnie Darko that really sparked your interest in acting. Is that correct?

Yeah, I think I memorized the whole movie when I was 11 years old. I had no idea what it was about. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. I don't know what drew me into it. I couldn't articulate what it was. I just had to keep watching it.

That's really intense at 11 years old. Wow. I'm impressed.

Thank you. Yeah, I stole it from my older brother. I couldn't stop thinking about that movie. I love it to this day, too. It's one of my favorite movies of all time.

The tattoo on your foot is quite inspiring, with the acronym for “What if everything works out?” Do you think taking leaps of faith has helped your acting career and personal life?

That's such a good question. Yeah, I think it lends itself to the work and to my personal life. It's just a reminder that everything does work out and I'm not in control of everything. The more I can surrender and just accept that things happen the way that they're gonna happen and I'm still alive today, everything works out. It might not be in the moment what I wanted, but it always ends up unfolding the way it's exactly supposed to. So it's just a message for myself to just trust the process of it all, not try to be in control, and thrust the things that life throws at you.

I think we all got thrown a very unpredictable thing of being in a pandemic, a strike and a very hard time. But you just have to just trust that it always works out. And it always does. We're in a time where everything feels a little bit catastrophic. This isn't anything new. It's just that we have more accessibility to things right now. And so it feels like Doomsday. But if you look back in time, we've gone through way crazier stuff, we're still here and we're still okay.

I think it's a testament to your talent as well. Your trajectory has been so rapid, but I'm sure it has to be exciting for you to just throw yourself into all of these dynamic roles.

Thank you very much. Yeah, it's been a long time coming and I've tried really hard to just show different sides of me and different characters that I can tap into. I feel very lucky to be continuously getting work.

How do you decompress after the madness that your characters portray on screen?

Honestly, it's similar to what I do with a character. Who is this person? Where does it live in me? Or where can I connect it? Who does it remind me of? When the work is over, there's a check-in with myself of who is Lucas, the totality of who I am, where I've come from and what I've been through and to not ever forget about that.

Just reminding myself about what's important and what matters to me. Even the characters that are doing crazy stuff, I just tried to never judge them. That's what I'm interested in, the depth of the human experience and the contradictions. The good stuff and the bad stuff and owning all of it. A lot of people are like, “Why do you like to play such bad characters? But I think that's more of a challenge. You want to own the bad parts. The bad aspects of you are much harder to do than owning the positive things that you bring.

You’re a triple Gemini, which is wild.

Just unhinged.

But it makes total sense with the roles that we've seen on screen. Do you think your zodiac sign seeps into the roles that you play?

Oh, for sure. I think Geminis are super crazy. I think they have a little bit of a bad rap and are misunderstood sometimes. I think that they’re very quick-witted and adaptable. I think that aspect of being a Gemini—the adaptability to transform and be a chameleon in whatever environment I’m in—has definitely been helpful as an actor.

I’m a Virgo, the complete opposite.

Virgos are a good time. I always get along with Virgos and Libras for some reason.

I'm glad you said that. Because I feel like Virgos, we get a lot of sh-t. So I'm glad you're on our side.

No, I think Virgos are really good. I think that they have a good rap, actually. I feel like they're very creative and good with their hands. With tactile art and putting things together. That kind of thing.

Out of all the characters you’ve played thus far, who would you most like to have a wild night out with?

I would go with Adam Pratt from You. I mean, listen, I’m not going to trust him with my dirty laundry. But he’s a lover of life. And he embraces it all, accepts everything and is down for whatever. I do like that aspect of him a lot. Do not recommend dating him, but definitely going out with him for a good time.

Speaking of your different characters, you're going to be starring in the remake of Roadhouse, which I only know because of Family Guy. (laughs) Anything you could say about your character? Just to get a little teaser for readers?

Basically, Jake Gyllenhaal is embodying Patrick Swayze’s role in the original movie. I would say it's more of a reimagining than a remake of the original. I don't know how much I can tell you, but I can tell you that Jake comes in and takes care of all these people who are working at the bar and having trouble at the bar with some rowdy, feral crazy guests who are just causing chaos. He takes me under his wing and teaches me his badass ways.

How does your role showcase a different side of your acting range?

People saw me in some fight scenes in Euphoria where I'm getting my ass kicked. So now it's kind of fun to show people that I can kick some ass.

Oh, I can't wait to see that.

Yeah, it's definitely fun. And I learned a bunch. I got to do fight training and stunt training for two weeks. I wanted to do all my own stunts and do it correctly. Now I love it. Now I'd take boxing twice a week and I'm really into it.

4E9A3988-2.jpgPhoto by Phil Chester

I just read a few hours that you're going to be part of the Smile sequel. Congratulations, by the way. When I asked you earlier about your love for Donnie Darko. I think it's a cool, full-circle horror moment for you.

I grew up being obsessed with horror films. I'm still a horror film fanatic. I loved the original Smile. I hated going to school and my mom would just allow me to stay home. I stayed home so much in sixth grade, and we just watched every single horror movie. Every single A Nightmare on Elm Street and Poltergeist. It was embedded in me to just be a horror fan. And now watching Ari Astor and all these really cool, horror-genre directors do this elevated version of horror has been a cool thing to see.

I know sometimes it could be a little bit tricky for actors to jump from, from platform to platform, but I think you've found your footing when it comes to both TV and film. Is it important for you to showcase your range?

Thank you. I'm trying, because that's the goal, right? I mean, sometimes you just don't have control of that. Some people can lack the decision-making or risk-taking. So they'll often try to give you things that they know are safe with you. I totally understand, especially with someone new to it all/ But I try as much as I can to be selective when I have the ability to be. I don’t know if I answered your question. (laughs)

I think you did. I wanted to know the importance of being versatile.

I think you just try your best to prove to people and maybe fight a little bit harder to send in an extra tape or send another letter to say, “Hey, I know that you haven't seen me do something like this, but I would love the opportunity.” I try to be cognizant of that as much as I possibly can. I think it's just important to not try to do a duplicate or a copy of something that you've done before. How can we make it a little bit different, even if it's the same type of character? That's what I tried to do at least.

There’s a quote you said in another interview that embodies what I'm gauging from just speaking with you. You said, “My biggest fear is to be boring.” Your roles are a tangible adrenaline rush.

I think what I meant by that is I would rather somebody tell me that they didn't like my performance, or they hated my performance, rather than saying that my performance was boring and did nothing for them. To not let them feel a particular way is much worse to me than someone being like, “I felt nothing. It was boring, I don't care.” For me, flling in that emotional history and that humanity of that character… it doesn't even matter what genre it's and it's not about making a caricature. Think of Heath Ledger and Dark Knight or Joaquin Phoenix and the Joker. You could have so easily made this duplicate version, this thing that we've already seen before. They didn't do that and people can say they liked it or didn’t like it. I think most people love both of their performances in it. But that's what I want to do. I don't want to be the homogenized version of anything. I want it to be interesting and alive. That's the biggest thing. I want it to have life.

Last year’s Down Low explored the writing side of your talent. Are there more plans to do more this year?

Writing is definitely becoming more and more an important part of my life and part of my creative kit of things I love to do. I'll just say this: I am definitely going to be doing a lot more writing and, eventually more directing. I haven't really done anything except for little things for my friends here and there. But you will be seeing a lot of stuff from me behind the camera and in the years coming.

Tags: Bianca Gracie,

Photography by: Phil Chester