U.S. Exclusive with Actor, Guile Branco!
By Bridget Brady
Have you ever felt like you’re old friends with someone the moment you meet them? That is what it’s like to meet Guile Branco! His deep voice and let’s just say it, super-sexy Brazilian accent, put me right at ease. Immediately warm, instantly laughing, and almost “too” open for Hollywood, I have the U.S. exclusive on this handsome Brazilian actor!! Just back from Cannes, where the short film he starred in "The Thing About My Wife" screened at the Festival. We talked about his acting career, how he stays in ridiculously great shape, his love-life, his unfortunate “day-jobs,” and his secret-sauce to becoming a successful actor in Los Angeles!
Let's start with the 411...Who are you, what are you passionate about, and what's your mission?
I am an actor, but I'm a creative person, so I cannot just act. I've tried to just be an actor and I can't do it. I have a passion for film and theater. My goal for my entire life was to live in Los Angeles and be an actor, and I've accomplished it to a certain degree. I feel like I'm already successful with what I've achieved. I believe that success is measured by the distance from where you started. When I look back in my life, I have to be beyond grateful for the people that I've met, and for being here. Although I'm not 'super' successful, I'm in a very good position in my life. I love to be an actor, I love to write and I love to put things together. I love to connect people and make films.
There are so many things you LOVE, and I love that!!
I have amazing friends in Brazil and America. I'm very lucky to have crossed paths with very talented, good people. We are together in this journey. We're making movies, we're laughing together, and we’re having a good time. My mission is to continue acting and making movies, on-wards and forwards, and nothing can stop me.
Tell me about being a law school drop out?
Let's go back to the beginning...People always ask me, "WHY are you here?" I was actually raised in California until I was about five years old. Maybe the answer lies in my childhood. I was born in Brazil, my dad was a very successful marine biologist and he was getting his PhD at Santa Barbara University. I'm their only son; we moved to Santa Barbara when I was one year old. My first contact with the world was here...I was a little child here. Maybe that changed my brain chemistry in a way. All my life, I have no memory of wanting to stay in Brazil. All my life, I wanted to move back to the U.S. I always felt like a strange person in a strange land in Brazil.
When did you decide you wanted to become an actor?
My passion for acting and writing started very early as well. I remember I was about 17 when I started to do theater and study. At the same time, I had pressure from my father. My father was an academic example. He was someone who went through all the steps of academic life. He never believed that anyone could succeed in life without going to college. I had this pressure from my father to get into college and get a degree. He wanted me to follow in his footsteps as a scientist. When I was young, I thought, yes I have to do this. I was in law school, and at the same time I started doing acting here and there, and I loved it. When I was 18 years old, I spent a couple weeks in New York. I begged my father to go to an event that encompassed acting and writing. I convinced my dad to pay a lot of money, and he hated the idea, but I spent two weeks in New York, and that was perhaps the biggest turning point in my life. Now I knew what I wanted. Before it was fuzzy, but now it was very clear. I knew I loved the arts; I knew I was a creative person, but I needed something concrete. When I went to New York, that was it. Once I returned to Brazil, I immediately quit law school. My number one goal was to become a professional actor and move to California.
How old were you when you moved here?
It took me five years. I was 23 when I moved to New York. In those five years, I became a professional actor in Brazil. I did so much theater; at one point I was doing three plays at the same time. I was like a machine. People would say, "Why did you leave, you were doing so well?" I couldn't control it; the desire to come here was stronger than me. But when I first got here, I went through seven months of hell. When you leave your native country, it's not easy. When you come here to be an actor, you're starting from scratch, starting at zero. I worked in everything you can imagine that was horrible. I did landfills; I had to move trash into containers from construction sites. I did landscaping outside. I was a brick-layer. Oh...bathroom attendant was a good one!
You DID have some good jobs!! (laughter). So what was the "big, medium…small" break that led you from bathroom attendant to professional actor?
That's very easy. To be an actor here, in the U.S., you need to have a good side job that’s flexible. The odds of you just getting jobs and becoming a successful actor, making money are very, very slim. I have to say the break was when I was able to get a flexible job that allowed me to pursue my career.
What job was that?
I have a background in fitness.
Yes! I see that you used to be a body-builder.
Yes, I did compete as a body-builder, all my life. And because of that background, I thought maybe I could start a business in fitness, train people, and make money. That was a big turning point because once I became a trainer; I had a job that I controlled, that I could go out and audition, and do anything I wanted. I don't want people to have false dreams. It's really unlikely that someone would come here and just make it. No, no, no. If you get a job that's flexible and allows you to pursue your career, then you're doing the right thing. I believe that it takes time. You have to build the pillars, so you get to the point where people start seeing your value and want you. It's very rare that it's going to happen in two, or three, or even five years.
Are you still training?
I am training to a very small capacity. I've been phasing it out for the past two years.
But you still keep that flexible, steady-money “day-job.”
ABSOLUTELY! I've been doing it now for 10 years. It was the greatest decision I've ever made because it gave me freedom. Because of that, I'm able to do everything! It opened up the world for me.
When did you make the move out here to LA?
I was in New York for five years, and moved to LA in 2007. Moving to LA for me was another big turning-point, because the quality of projects I was involved in got better. I also started to flex my producing muscles. I produced a film called, "Why We Train.” It was a documentary about fitness that shows my preparation for a competition. That film won a couple of awards and now sells world-wide. It's a very inspirational film. For me, it's a blessing. I don't make much money with it, but it's been good for my soul.
Tell me about the film, This Thing About My Wife, that screened at Cannes?
The story behind the film is quite extraordinary. I'm in this movie because of Facebook!
WOW! Now that is extraordinary. The power of Social Media!! Tell me about that!
I did a couple of interviews for Brazilian publications last year. One day, I get a message on my Facebook from a producer in Boston [Joe Moreira]. Basically he said, "I'm Brazilian as well. I was Google-ing 'Hollywood Brazilian actors' and your name showed up." He decided to stalk me because he wanted to see if I would audition for his movie. He calls me, and I find out that he wrote a book about his life. He adapted his life story to this short-film that he wrote. He then tells me the director is Jean-Paul Ouellette, who worked closely with James Cameron on "The Terminator.” I was cast in the film and I had no idea that this film would be in Cannes!
And you went to Cannes?
Yes! I went to Cannes with Joe and JP [Producer and Director]. It was an adventure. A dream. Cannes is the biggest festival in the world. For me, it was a dream come true. It's the biggest thing that's ever happened to me! Going to Cannes with a movie that I'm the lead actor in!
YES!! It is a dream! It's amazing!! I would love to know more about your personal life.
Right now, I'm completely single. I just finished a relationship I had for about a year. I'm dating...but nothing serious.
What about outside of acting and fitness? What else is your life about?
I love to enjoy Los Angeles. I really enjoy going to the beach and exploring...Silver Lake, and small neighborhoods. Just sucking in this diverse place we live in I love Malibu! I go to Zuma Beach a lot. I love traveling. Now I have a real possibility of making movies in Brazil because people are really noticing me. So, I may be back in Brazil for a couple months to shoot a film. The future is wide open!
What other projects are you working on?
I have a couple of big films coming up...not counting my chickens before they’re hatched, but there's a big chance that I'll be doing even less personal training in the next few months!
Obviously you're in "stupid-good" shape! (Guile laughs!) Just own it, love it, you know it’s true! So, what's your fitness routine? Are you super strict with your diet? How "crazy" are you?
I'm not nearly as crazy as I used to be. When I was competing in shows, for about ten weeks I am training six times a week, and I'm super strict. I'm not going to drink alcohol; I'm going to keep my carbs really low. I believe in a high-protein, low-carb, and high-fat (healthy fat) diet. So for about ten weeks I'm a complete "meat-head" in the gym. But that's ten weeks before a competition. For the rest of the year, it's a whole different story!!
Ok...so what's the rest of the year look like?
For the rest of the year, I go to the gym maybe four times a week. I'll run three times a week. I will eat probably a bar of chocolate a day. I'm going to have, at least once a week, a good burger with fries. I'll indulge in ice-cream, cheese cake, pasta, and I'm going to drink lots of beer. I'll have an occasional martini…That's the rest of the year. (laughter)
Perfect! Awesome!! Now you're speaking my language. But c'mon...You're still going to the gym four times and week, and running three times a week!
My last competition may have been my last one. If I'm busy with making films, that's my priority. But I will still train of course! I believe in something called the "compensating rule.” If I eat too much, I'm gonna stay good for five days to compensate. I enjoy my life. I enjoy my fitness. I enjoy everything. My story is about determination, perseverance and staying in the game. The only reason I'm still here is because I'm not quitting: perseverance and staying in the game.