Generation V: Lukas Gage

Gage explains the eerie destiny for acting roles.

“My first job was a wart commercial—I was a spokes-kid for wart removal… That was my claim to fame!” jokes Lukas Gage, recalling his early false start in showbiz. At his artsy public high school in San Diego, a commercial reel was practically de rigueur. “It was cool to flex to your friends about [getting] a commercial,” he explains. “But then I would do one, and be like, ‘This isn’t it.’” After quitting the after-school hobby at 13, Gage spent adolescence at arm’s length from the acting bug, until a life-changing trauma. “I was at a party, and my friend got beat up for being gay. I jumped in to protect him, and I got beat up, [too]. I broke my orbitals, my nose, my jaw… Eight of my teeth got knocked out. I [had to get] my face put back together,” Gage recalls. “I had this moment in the hospital where I thought, If I die, will I have done everything I wanted to do? I wasn’t happy in school and I always wanted to go back to acting, so I was, like, ‘Fuck it. I am going to do it.’”

Acting would eventually compel Gage to reckon with that inciting trauma onscreen: In an eerily familiar episode on the first season of HBO’s Euphoria, Gage’s Tyler is brutally assaulted by a retaliatory Nate (Jacob Elordi). “I think it actually help[ed] me work through some shit—[reliving the experience] in an environment where I felt safe and comfortable,” Gage says of filming the sequence. Even more surprising is that director Sam Levinson was none the wiser until after the shoot had wrapped. “His mind was blown when I told him [about getting beat up]. He was like, ‘Wow, that’s really weird,’” says Gage, noting that he’d auditioned for multiple roles before Levinson chose him for Tyler. “I feel like a lot of roles that have come into my life have this visceral connection to my first-hand [experience],” he says. “I was like, ‘Am I supposed to play roles like that, because of my experience?’ Especially at the beginning of my career, I attracted the asshole, fuck-boy. Which is fine: I am down to shed light on the darker sides of humanity.”

Lukas wears Guess
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