Emily In Paris Panel At Paley Fest 2022: The Essence Of Charm!
By: Chelsea Isabella Clark-James
What is Charm? Because Emily in Paris has a ton of it. Showrunner Darren Star certainly knows how to bring it off the page and into our living rooms, as he diwith 90210 and Sex & the City. However, in his newest hit, Emily in Paris, the charm radiates from the talent of the Netflix original comedy-drama. Sunday night’s closing panel for PaleyFest2022, moderated by Janine Rubinstein, PEOPLE Everyday podcast host, brought together creator Darren Star, series director Andrew Flemming, stars Lily Collins (Emily Cooper), Ashley Park (Mindy Chen), Lucas Bravo (Gabriel), Camille Razat (Camille), and Lucien Laviscount (Alfie). As special as the night was for fans, it was more so for the did with cast and producers; this was their first in-person event since the show began, on account of Covid.
Deflecting the moderator’s repeated inquiries into what will happen in season three, Darren Star did share one tidbit when he informed Lucien, who plays the love interest, Alfie, that his character will be returning for season three. Lucien, and the fans, were surprised and grateful. The Showrunner also announced that filming will begin in June, now that seasons three and four have been greenlit. Satisfied with the sneak peek into season three’s casting, moderator Janine Rubinstein shifted her questioning to season two. Lead actor and producer, Lily Collins took the microphone first. Season one, shot before Covid, was so fun and positive, according to Lily, that when they came back for season two it was important the show kept that energy, despite the isolation the cast and crew had to endure due to Covid protocols.
For Lily, the friendship between her title character Emily and Mindy Chen, played by Ashley Park, was a storyline she wanted to go deeper into in season two. That friendship ended up being more than simply onscreen. The support the women provided each other off-screen proved to be just as important. After a night shoot for the St.Tropez episode, Lily had to do a solo wedding dress fitting to comply with safety measures. While she was out, Ashley covered her hotel room in rose petals so the star didn’t feel alone.
The onscreen friendship also resonated with Ashley. She recounted their first meeting at her audition; they ran through the scene where Emily and Mindy meet in the show. Everyone in the room felt the chemistry. The fish out of water element both characters experience, as Americans living in Paris, mirrored what Lily and Ashley went through as actors. Ashley believes this authenticity translates onscreen, and fan feedback supports that theory.
Asked about her musical performances, Ashley Park remarked on returning to her theater roots, where the music tells a story. “Mon Soleil” is the only original song in the show and was written with composer Freddy Wexler over Zoom while filming season two. Her performance for the finale was her first live one since the
pandemic, making it extra special for the multitalented, Broadway singer/actor.
Director Andrew Flemming spoke about filming that performance. It was the most demanding scene of the series for him, and also his favorite. In the scene, Mindy performs with her band at a restaurant, where, at first, the customers hardly notice. Slowly, everyone becomes captivated. Emily watches from a table shared
with the show’s conflicting love interests, Alfie and Gabriel. The director explained how many shots were needed for the visual storytelling to unfold: the love triangle at the table; the background watching on; and the performance itself - all in a cramped, hot location.
Locations are another character in Showrunner Darren Star’s stories. Just as he brought New York City and Beverly Hills into our homes, he brings Paris to life for Americans - and Parisians. When Lucas Bravo and Camille Razat, the two French actors present were asked how the Paris of the show compares to the Paris they know, they agreed Darren and director Andrew Flemming did an amazing job capturing the beauty and life of the city. From drag clubs to Versailles, Lucas Bravo felt Darren wrote a love letter to Paris with this show. The cast unanimously considers themselves lucky for the Emily in Paris experience.
If locations are memorable characters in Darren Star’s shows, so is fashion. When pressed on her favorite outfit, Lily struggled to answer. For Lily, the fashion is a language of its own in the show. Referencing a layered seahorse dress worn in season one, Lily explained how it represented Emily’s desire for a mate (seahorses mate for life) and how she felt like she was drowning under the layers of stress from living in a foreign country and struggling to find career success. Though not all the cast puts that level of meaning into their costumes, Patricia
Field, the show’s costume designer, consults with the actors, giving them a say in wardrobe decisions. Camille Razat, who plays Emily’s friend and her love interest’s girlfriend on the show took it upon herself to introduce emerging designers to the show, providing a leg up to unrecognized talents in the fashion
Before the night was over the cast answered the audience's questions. Did Lucas have to learn how to cook for the role? No, he was a chef earlier in life. Did the actors get to keep any wardrobe? No, but Lily wants to talk about that for next season! Did the cast do anything fun outside of work? Yes, they learned to make macaroons. One of the last questions came from a long-time Lily Collins fan who had met her on her book tour years ago. Lily asked the fan’s name and said ‘nice to see you again.’ Then Lucas Bravo gave the audience a heartfelt thanks for being there with them, because after two secluded years, being with fans and seeing how the show connects with people from all walks of life, was something truly special to him.
This is the essence of the charm that is Emily in Paris.