He had already produced videos with Sens Unik, but after making an appearance in the documentary Babylon 2 (1993), Leal decided to pursue a serious acting career. He trained under director Jack Garfein at The Actors Studio in Paris. He made his film debut in Week End Break (2002), a comedyshort film, which led to roles in a number of French and Swiss productions.
In 2005, Leal appeared in the Swiss film Snow White, in his first major cinematic role. For his performance, he was awarded the prize for Best Actor at the Tamil Nadu Film Festival, and Swiss Film Prize for Best Performance in a Leading Role.