DDW chats with Lou Llobell about her role in Apple TV’s hit show Foundation, her upbringing and London.
Whilst most people wake up to some default iPhone alarm, a few years back Lou Llobell started her day to the sound of what became a life-changing role. American filmmaker David Goyer rang her to announce her role as Gaal in Apple TV’s hit show, Foundation.
Image featuring Lou Llobell wearing Hermès and Cartier
Loosely based on Isaac Asimov‘s books of the same name, the series revolves around the collapse of the ruling power in the galaxy, known as ‘the Empire’. The collapse is predicted to result in a lengthy recovery period of 30,000 years by a mathematician named Hari Seldon, who then devises a visionary plan to reduce the restoration timeframe to a mere 1,000 years. The series follows Gaal, played by Llobell, as she joins forces with Seldon to execute this ingenious strategy in a show which had big boots to fill for the Asimov fan club – something which it has done stellarly.
I get the impression that Llobell has an almost child-like fascination with the intricacies and innovations of Sci-Fi worlds. She expresses awe at the vast possibilities these realms offer, which are so far removed from our daily realities (or are they, given the rise of AI?). But what truly gets her going seems to be a deeper understanding of the kinds of narratives she is helping to tell. “We are still really telling stories about human interactions and human lives. I think merging those two things is what is really wonderful,” she tells me. “That you can think so big and still have the core of what you are talking about and the story you’re telling me about human beings and about the struggles that we have day to day.”
For Llobell, the struggles she has faced seem to have manifested into feelings of loneliness in an industry she is still getting to grips with. Although we have become accustomed to seeing her on screen, it is easy to forget that acting is still (relatively) new to her, having only been doing it professionally for four years. She must be doing something right though, as the actress recently made it onto Forbes’ 30 under 30, a situation Llobell described as “very, very, very, very exciting.”
But we have to remember, this is just the start for Llobell. Her ambition shines through with her every word, and her go-getter attitude strikes me quite early on. “I’ve traveled a lot, but I still don’t think that I have traveled enough. I have so many more places to see, so many more different types of food to eat, I have so many people to meet… I still think that I have such a long road ahead.” She says. And for Lou Llobell, if that road ahead involves her acting alongside the likes of Viola Davis or Regina King, even better.
Image featuring Lou Llobell wearing Hermès and Cartier
As we speak, I also get a sense that Llobell is a very bubbly character, so when I find out that she is known on set for her dinner parties, I’m not too surprised. She gives off the kind of energy that brings people together – with the added benefit that she is apparently a great cook. She has her father and grandmother to blame for it, and probably all the cultural influences of her upbringing, which is as international as they come. In all honesty, I should’ve brought a map to talk to her. As I delve into the chat with the twenty-eight-year-old actress, I come to the realization that there are citizens of the world… and then there’s Lou Llobell.
Llobell, who has a Zimbabwean mother and Spanish father, was raised in both South Africa and Spain, making her upbringing a true melting pot of cultural influences, something which she appreciates has transcended into her acting. Llobell talks about adjusting her accent, something she would do adaptively depending on where she was at, and which has helped her master the art of accents in a film set. In a similar fashion, she talks about traveling and being exposed to different cultures as a child, two things she claims have shaped her in being more open.
With such a diverse background to trace, I catch Llobell stalling (understandably) when I ask her where she feels most at home. “Home for me is probably where the people I love are.” is the answer she settles with. Her mother still lives in the same house she grew up in back in South Africa, but the actress now resides in a more nomadic fashion between Spain and London, where she initially moved to attend acting school. Lou Llobell responds to the dreaded question in a manner that I have observed many multicultural individuals do; they believe that home is where the heart is. But who’s to say that the heart can’t be enjoying a tortilla in Spain or catching waves in the South African surf Mecca of Jay Bay?
Image featuring Lou Llobel wearing Hermès and Cartier
If she’s in London though, you’ll find Llobell in east. She came to the city to attend drama school, be exposed to castings, and directors and mingle with the industry in a city that Llobel describes as “bustling vibrant, and diverse”. Like most East Londoners, she seems to have a thing for the Hackney area, so I ask her to tell me about some of her favorite places around there. She names Cat and Mutton, Morito or Pidgin. “I would kick around there”, she laughs.
So what is next for someone that has made the cut in the list of successful under 30s? Llobell is hopeful. “We’ll see what happens going forwards. Hopefully a lot, hopefully, loads of things… hopefully everything”.