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Gilles Marini Talks 'Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch,' and Joining the Hallmark Family

(We need more of this dynamic sleuthing duo - Here's why!)

By Lori MeltonPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 9 min read
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'Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch' Trailer Hallmark Mystery Channel

Please forgive the cliché, but I simply can’t resist: It will be a crime if we don’t get a Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch sequel.

Yes, Hallmark Mystery Channel, I’m talking to you. And I know I’m not the only one who really wants to see the beautiful and brilliant American fashion psychologist Lauren Elliott (Brooke D’Orsay) and hunky, justice-seeking French detective Inspector Andre Dubreuil (Gilles Marini) team up again to crack another case.

Gilles Marini, for one, is rooting for this dynamic sleuthing duo to pair up again. I had the pleasure of talking to him recently via phone about this movie and he was thrilled with every aspect of the filming experience.

“We absolutely hope to get 10 more of those,” he said. "From the director I worked with, Felipe Rodriguez, to my partner in crime and lead Brooke D’Orsay, I absolutely loved the fact that not only did we shoot in Europe, but also the place I’m from. But it’s also the cast and the crew – it was great on every level.”

Marini grew up in France, but launched his acting career in the U.S., where he’s built a long list of TV and film credits.

As a refresher: Marini burst onto the big screen as Samantha Jones’ sexy neighbor Dante in Sex and the City: The Movie. And who can ever forget his jaw-dropping, heart-stopping second place finish opposite Cheryl Burke in Season 8 of Dancing with the Stars? His flawless, breathtaking Argentine Tango garnered a perfect 30 score and left an indelible mark on the DWTS judges and audiences around the world.

Marini stole hearts as passionate painter and love interest of Rachel Griffiths’ character Sarah Walker on Brothers and Sisters. He piqued everyone’s curiosity and effortlessly reeled us in as Bay Kennish’s (Vanessa Marano) biological father with a troubled past, Angelo Sorrento, on Switched at Birth. He also hid a dark secret as the devilishly charming Sebastien Dussault on Devious Maids.

Marini has morphed himself into a myriad of memorable characters across his esteemed career including a raging monster in Teen Wolf, a charismatic cruise Captain on Hot in Cleveland, and a rude chef in 2 Broke Girls.

Gilles Marini Studying 'Crimes of Fashion' Scripts - Photo Courtesy of Gilles Marini Facebook

His cool-yet-vulnerable portrayal of the guarded and driven French detective Andre Dubreuil is the first role that returned Marini (now a French American citizen) to his native country for work. He was thrilled with the opportunity.

“I’ve always wanted to work with Hallmark. I’ve been saying it forever,” Marini said. “I had the opportunity because the role is a French detective and I’m very much French. Most of my work has been in the States. The minute I heard it, I said, ‘I’m in.’”

Hallmark movie and Gilles Marini fans have undoubtedly realized that one of Marini’s Brothers and Sisters co-stars, Luke Macfarlane, is one of Hallmark’s gorgeous and charming leading men.

“Luke Macfarlane is one of the most dedicated actors I know. He’s a genius actor,” Marini says. “He can do it all. He and Matthew Rhys were so stellar together on Brothers and Sisters. Just the education in acting and what they were able to do was incredible.

He’s a great human. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Luke. But now that we work with the same network, I cannot wait to see him. I cannot wait to give him a huge hug.”

In Marini’s enchanting Hallmark debut, he is thrust into the fast-paced, competitive fashion world as a French detective leading a murder investigation.

The story takes off when Lauren’s best friend Charlotte (Paloma Coquant) makes a desperate plea for her friend to calm the jangled nerves of fashion designer Virgil (François Legrand) ahead of fashion week. The story takes an exciting turn to the City of Light itself – Paris.

As Virgil’s models hit the runway, a murder rocks the house of Lavigne – and suddenly, Charlotte is the lead suspect. Lauren and the lead detective, Andre, initially butt heads as she proclaims her friend’s innocence and the introspective inspector is not so easily swayed.

Lauren and Andre’s tug of war – and obvious chemistry – creates the tension and drives the plot of this charming whodunit film. Plus, this pair of fearless crime fighters make a visually striking team.

Crimes of Fashion Hallmark Mystery Channel Promo

This film marks Marini and D’Orsay’s first movie match-up, and Marini was bowled over by his beautiful co-star’s tenacity in freezing cold temps.

“It was freezing,” Marini recalled. "In the opening scene when Lauren is fleeing from the murderer, and she just got fired at, Brooke was on the concrete ground for a long time. It was literally like minus 5 degrees – it was frigid.

She’s a superhero. This woman is so mentally strong and ready. Everyone is watching and they have their warmers and big jackets and can barely survive. She does. She’s dressed up as the character, and is not dressed warmly and she’s not making a sound. She’s working so hard and so professional.

It made everyone on the set walk a straight line – and it was one of the biggest inspirations I had on the movie set. Everything in 17 years of a career included – Brooke D’Orsay is an absolute stud.”

Marini was also highly impressed with director Felipe Rodriguez’s creative choices.

“What I saw and what I lived was such an immense, unbelievable, incredible, uplifting experience. I felt like I wasn’t working but having such a great time creating something that I knew the people at home would enjoy to the fullest,” he explained. “I think that’s super valuable as an actor. You’re working for everybody, and the movie is not violent.

"There’s fashion in the middle of everything. It flows and moves. You know there’s a murder, and you turn around and there’s a beautiful outfit. And you say, 'Oh, it’s a movie!' Marini added.

"And I think they made it really intelligently. Felipe Rodriguez, the director, had so many different layers of color and flavor to push into the Hallmark space.”

Obvious chemistry builds between Lauren and Andre that’s fun to watch. Both characters are smart and possess sharp observational skills. Plus, they share a mutual desire to make sure justice is served.

The alluring characters, the intriguing mystery, scenic eye-candy (the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées), and the fashion – all easily lend itself to a Hallmark Mystery spinoff series – or at very least, a sequel.

“This should be a series. It’s called Crimes of Fashion. So, what could the next story be, and where? Not Paris, but maybe it’s Milan, New York. Maybe I go help Lauren in New York. There should be many more,” Marini said, continuing.

“We’re the same breed. My silliness when it comes to this detective. The emotion he felt towards her is very clear now. But it’s all a tug-of-war of love and appreciation – and seeing human beings impressing you in places you never knew.

The way I believe I played it; Andre isn’t used to having a female be so involved to want to discover the murderer and investigate. Lauren has a father who she’s close to who’s a homicide detective. So, she has a lot of insight to help solve the mystery.

The scriptwriters (Tom McCurrie and Stephanie Sourapas) who made this happen were brilliant. At the end of the day helping the detective made sense. The movie made it all possible and everybody can really relate. I was really blessed to be part of such an amazing group of people.”

As for the breathtaking location, they split filming between Budapest and Paris. Marini loved sharing his Parisian experience with his mom, who lives in Cannes.

“We shot all the outside scenes where you see me at Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame – I called my mom every day in those places,” Marini explained.

“It was really special,” he added. “We were in Paris for 4 days. It was really magical. They call it the City of Light. (And of course, City of Love). Cinematically speaking, it was a dream.

"I told her a white lie: I was filming in Europe and ending up in Paris, but it would be too difficult to see her. Then, after I was done shooting in Paris, I flew to Cannes to knock on her door and surprise her.”

Marini also gave a nod to his late father, Georges, who owned a bakery in France. Gilles helped his father bake there at a very young age. He was 19 when his dad passed away from cancer.

In one scene, Lauren and Andre do a video call. He eats an éclair, and the filling explodes on his shirt. He tells her the name of the bakery – which is a real-life reference to Gilles’ father – and a wink to his mom.

“My father was a baker named Georges, like my son,” said Marini. “It was improv. I wanted to wink at my mom. It was really cool that I had the opportunity to blend reality with fiction. I was so happy the director let me do it. It was amazing.”

Marini also shared a film tie with his son, Georges, who recently turned 25 and proudly serves on the LAPD. Georges coached his dad as he prepared for the role, and they went to the gun range together to practice shooting. Gilles was grateful for the help and is very proud of his son’s dedication and commitment to serve.

Those who know Gilles Marini are immediately struck by his kindness, compassion, sense of humor, and charisma. His eyes are very expressive in person and as an actor.

By comparison, Andre Dubreuil is guarded and haunted by familial criminal ties. So, he plays everything “by the book” and prefers not to make any exceptions for Lauren’s “unconventional” sleuthing tactics.

Mutual attraction percolates between Lauren and Andre, especially at the end of the film. This really seems to foreshadow a future for this couple – whether it be professional or romantic – which let’s be honest – viewers want and need both, right?

“I love how they met on the bridge at the end. It really made people feel there was going to be a next one,” Marini said. “This character is not someone who will engage too much in a relationship. He’s feeling it from afar, and it’s a little bit foreign to him because he’s so dedicated to his work. That gives the movie a bit of Remington Steele type of vibe, I think.”

It’s easy to draw that comparison. Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist brought amazing wit, intelligence, and onscreen chemistry to the popular, critically acclaimed ‘80s detective procedural.

Gilles Marini and Brooke D’Orsay have undeniable chemistry and they both excel at bringing unique, memorable, and relatable traits to their characters.

As the pair walk away together in the closing scene, the camera zooms in on love locks attached to the bridge post. Romantics everywhere will recognize the shot’s homage to the Pont des Arts – aka – love locks bridge – in Paris.

This must mean something, right? Are we merely to assume that Andre and Lauren are going to fall in love?

We want real evidence – we want another Lauren and Andre installment.

Excuse me if my French is not on point – “Donne-nous plus Crimes of Fashion!” Give us more!

There are no spoilers here as to how the crime is solved! You must watch Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch for yourself to see how Lauren gets herself in and out of multiple scrapes, and how Andre sets his relentless (and smoldering) sights on catching a killer.

Marini, meanwhile, is proud of the movie, is rooting for another Crimes of Fashion installment, and is happy to be part of the Hallmark Channel family.

“I want to do so much with Hallmark. There are so many amazing ideas and plots and twists and turns,” he said. “They don’t call it Hallmark family for no reason. The Hallmark family is tight-knit and fosters a lot of love and respect. I feel like this is a turn in my career I could not have dreamed up.”

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  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Aweome & amazing interview!!! Loving it!!!❤️❤️💕

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