Clive Owen: rich mixture
Clive Owen is the consummate actor who loves to mix his roles—Chancer, Croupier, Closer and beyond—and steps out into a new ﬁeld as the face of Lancôme Men
Excerpted from issue 24 of Lucire
was Victoria University’s law school’s babe magnet once upon a time.
In 1992, Chancer aired on TV
One in New Zealand, and Owen, playing post-yuppie City boy Stephen
Crane—whom we ﬁnd out later is actually a lad called Derek
Love—had the female members of the class, and probably a few males,
swooning. Owen played a City type trying to help a Morgan-type car
factory into the 1990s, opposite a cast that included Susannah Harker,
Leslie Phillips and Peter Vaughn. It is perhaps no surprise that
the man whose good looks had law students swooning has become a
male model of sorts: the signature face of Lancôme Men.
Chancer was Owen’s ﬁrst major series
on UK TV,
though he had performed in plays in his youth. (At school, his career
teacher thought that his ambition to be an actor was ‘a joke’.)
But most people fell for the actor’s charms when he made it to the
big screen in Croupier, directed by Mike Hodges. ‘When we
made that ﬁlm, it had a tiny budget,’ says Owen just prior
to the Lancôme Men launch in California. ‘It was something
like a six-week shoot and the people who made it, Channel 4, didn’t
really like it, so they wanted to put it straight out on to TV.
So it was really because of a great friend of Mike Hodges who really
championed it over here in LA.
‘He had good contacts, was a friend of Robert
Altman, who liked the ﬁlm, and he put on screenings and spread
good word of mouth. To America, it was like the ﬁrst thing
I’d done. So over here, my career starts there—which is quite liberating
in a way.’
Following that, Owen appeared in Gosford Park,
The Bourne Identity, Beyond Borders, King Arthur, Sin City and
Inside Man, plus was a favourite for some time as a possible
James Bond to follow from Pierce Brosnan.
Owen has kept his hand on stage, admiting that
British actors tended to have competences in every medium out of
necessity and lack of work, notably in the West End and Broadway
play Closer (the movie ver sion, which Owen also starred
in, earned him a BAFTA).
‘Closer was another serious gear change
after [Croupier]. It was such a great part, a brilliant piece
of writing, and I knew the material so well [from stage],’ he says.
Most recently, it was the chilling Children
of Men that has earned him headlines, and Owen has just wrapped
ﬁlming The Golden Age. ‘Alfonso [Cuaron, the director
of Children of Men] was very clever with that ﬁlm.
‘The central thought is the same [as the novel’s], but the characters
are quite different and there are huge themes that he brought into
the movie, like immigration.’
That résumé alone is probably enough
to put him in the pages of the fashion press. But there are a few
more reasons. Owen has endorsed one other brand before, BMW,
and did it with plenty of aplomb and credibility. As a true actor,
he never seemed like he was selling out—probably because the BMW
“commercials” he starred in never seemed like ads.
Read the remainder of this article, including Clive
Owens work on the Lancôme Men advertisements,
in issue 24 of Lucire in print.
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Left: Clive Owen and Daria Werbowy in
a commercial for Lancôme Men, photographed by Wing Shya. Image
courtesy Lancôme. Top: Clive Owen as Mr Smith in Shoot
Em Up. Above centre: Owen with Shoot Em
Up director Michael Davis. Above: Owen with Shoot Em
Up co-star Monica Bellucci.
performed in plays in his youth. At school, his career teacher thought
that his ambition to be an actor was ‘a joke’