Jordan Ver Hoeve
Gad Elmaleh just released his new binge worthy Netflix Series “Huge in France.” The show follows the successful French comedian as he takes on a fictionalized version of himself and his attempts to get back into the life of his estranged son to spite his ex-wife and her lover. At the center of the show is Elmaleh’s son Luke played by Jordan Ver Hoeve, a lovable vacuous aspiring model, think a baby Zoolander. In real life the 23-year-old San Diego blonde already had his career modeling, while spending time in New York to homing in on his acting craft. We caught up with the young actor ahead of his grand debut to talk about buying pecs, dry humor, and Gaultier.
Firstly I thought you were actually French or European?
I know, I get messages all the time. I’m Dutch, that’s my ethnicity but I get messages all the time saying you’re Gad’s son, you’re French, I never seen you. Because he has an actual son, Noah, and it’s just funny because you got this tall, blonde boy who looks nothing like he’s from Paris and they’re like Gad has another son and I’m like no, it’s just from the show.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from San Diego, California and then after high-school I got the opportunity to move to New York for a little bit of work, so I was here for seven months and then I immersed myself in the acting, and I was coming back and forth frequently, so I just came back to LA to pursue my priority and my passions in acting.
In New York were you doing more modeling stuff? Or more focused on theater or acting?
Yes, I was still studying acting. I was coming back and forth for film and television stuff. In terms of auditions, but primarily there to do runway and fashion. I was like, you know what, I’m 18 and I’m graduating high school, I got this opportunity to go to New York and I’m going to take it. It was a great learning experience.
So how did you get involved “Huge in France?” It’s hysterical.
Okay, so I’ve been pursuing acting for a while now and there’s just so many projects that come up. I was going out a lot, I just recently just got new management, LA Management, and my manager is Tristan Marion, and she was sending me out constantly just doing whatever actor does, you just get the opportunity and hopefully get a callback.
So this project comes up called Huge in France, and my look, the character description was awesome. I really like the material they sent, so I just went out on it and immediately with the casting directors got such good vibes, I had so much fun with it. I just felt good. And so they wanted a model, kinda model looking character, which is hard because you’re almost type-casted in LA if you're a model. They’re like ‘oh, he’s just a model-actor’, but this was perfect because they wanted that type of look. So I went in, I read for it, felt really good, and then a couple of days later just got feedback that they really enjoyed it, and they were going to go along sending it to producers and callbacks, so it wasn’t like I booked it immediately, there was a long process. But that was kind of like the initial stage, like any other opportunity, just the audition that my manager found and submitted me for, and I auditioned.
Yeah, it’s actually funny, you’ve been in our magazine already.
Have I really?
Yeah, the shoot with Torbjørn Rødland.
That was such an awesome shoot. That was fun, I remember that.
Yeah, it was amazing. Let's talk about your character though. So he’s in high-school, trying to buy his pecs?
This is why I love this because it's so dry but serious. My humor extends from his seriousness so I don't have any punch lines or jokes, the comedy is in the seriousness of his character, wanting these pecs. Wanting to be a supermodel, nothing in the world matters besides his success in becoming a supermodel, he’s a total Zoolander.
Yeah, totally. (spoilers below)
So he doesn’t feel like he has as much of an opportunity unless his pecs are large. He wants to impress the clientele. And he has this...I don’t wanna give out too much information on this show yet... but it drops tomorrow, excitedly. But he’s like yeah, so I got to get these pecs, I got to get them, I got to walk in New York Fashion Week. It’s really funny, but this is where the comedy comes in. When we were in Paris, filming with Jean Paul Gaultier he wasn’t offended or surprised by it. He was like oh yeah, I see guys all the time buy implants, pec implants. I was like ‘oh my gosh’
I’m pretty sure, he’s been around it all. Especially all the fashion people like that.
When we listened to it, and everyone was here in LA taping and filming, we were like ‘oh my gosh’ this is hilarious. And there he was like ‘oh yeah, I’ve seen it’ no shocks there. But that’s basically my character, he’s on this pursuit. It’s like nothing else matters at the moment, except him, his modeling, and his love interests.
Yeah, which I was going to say I felt very ‘womp womp’ when I saw the initial interaction, and you were kinda being bullied. It touched me, I felt like everybody has been there.
Yeah, I know for sure.
That’s so funny. So how was your development with you and Gad’s character, in regards to how you guys connected as part of the process of getting into the roles?
Oh my Gosh, he is honestly one of the most down-to-earth, genuine guys. On set, it wasn’t like we were acting, because there was such a strong connection between Gad and me and all the cast members. It felt like a family. Yeah, on the show we have this evolving relationship, but in terms of showing up on set or working outside of set on our lines, there was such a strong connection immediately, it just felt like I was having fun reading lines with a family member or a friend. It was just on the weekends when we would have some time, he would invite me to brunch or a hike, where we would read lines. We had such a rigorous shooting schedule Monday through Friday, slash Saturday just constant go go go. So Sunday, it would be like let's just chill out, read lines, shoot some pool. I had met this guy for a couple of weeks, or within weeks, it was literally like we had known each other for a long time, and it was like that with everyone. It was just really cool and very fortunate, because I know there are discrepancies on set, and was very fortunate to feel like literally at home on set. Like when I was leaving my apartment I felt like I was going home on set.
I wanted to also know what other projects are you working on?
I’m constantly working on my acting. Even picking up an iPhone and filming with friends is fun, but in terms of projects, I will definitely continue working with Netflix. Such a great platform to be a part of and not only that, but they treat you so well. So hopefully some projects with them and if we get some good feedback with “Huge in France”, maybe a little season 2 going on and then I’m super interested in doing features and feature films and working with my friends who are writers and maybe starring in their projects if they’re interested. So just staying active in any way, and I feel that’s important for an actor. Regardless if it's just getting simple headshots printed to booking a job, whatever you can do to progress.
How much did you prepare for altering your body? What is your background in working out?
I’ve always been into athletics. My main sport was Golf when I was younger, but I was a football player, I was always doing hobbies like BMX Biking, deep sea freediving, just constantly staying active somewhat. I’ve always had that athletic skill, an athletic mindset like competitive edge, competitive mindset as well. With the modeling too, they want a very particular look so I was kind of used to manipulating and cutting down or working on this. I also learned human physiology to and anatomy. The human body is so cool how much we still don’t know and are still learning, it just fascinates me. So to be able to go into this role where I did have to make some changes to my body, I had to cut down a little bit here but not to the point where it was like I had to look like my modeling days, so it was cool to take on the challenge. It’s almost like your body is a canvass, so to adjust your body to that cycle. I’ve always just been active, like here on this interview I was like ‘I’m just going to go on a walk and do it.’ It wasn’t like a crazy adjustment, but it was fun to kind of like have this new goal, this physical goal for this show, rather than just standing in front of the camera where they don’t get to see Jordan’s personality. I don’t know, it was just fun to make myself my own project, look my best, eat my best, train the best I could to look good for the show. I wanted to make a good first impression on the biggest thing I’ve booked and one of the best opportunity so it was a fun experience for sure.
And what is your relationship with your step-father and mother in the show? I think that dynamic is so quintessentially LA.
Oh my gosh, my mom is such a cliche LA mom and my dad is such a cliche LA step-dad. I have no issue with that, so am I, I’m cliche, just living up that super-dramatic, exaggerated lifestyle. My mom runs a brand called Exhale, and she’s super serious about it. My step-dad wants to be an actor, but he makes excuses that he’s too busy focusing on my goals. I have the best relationship with him because he’s able to push me, to train me, to get me closer to that goal. It’s really funny, which is what I like about the show. Yeah, it’s Gad’s show, but there are so many more elements to it that its just awesome. I think one of the best aspects is the relationship between me, my step-dad, and my mom and it’s just so funny because we’re so serious. It’s great, and just in general. Errin Hayes who plays my mom and Matthew Del Negro some of the nicest, I said people I’ve gone to work with and just super talented. It’s cool to show up to set and to work with people that you’ve seen before. Me and Matthew read and immediately, right off the bat hit-it-off. I think we went out to lunch the next day just to hang out, it was awesome.
Photographed by: Christopher Patey
Styled by: Enrique Melendez
Grooming: Sacha Quarles