When Darren Star's Emily in Paris hit Netflix in 2020 it completely took over the world. Streamed in over 58 million households in the first month alone, the show was the source of viral memes but also widespread criticism (including its Golden Globe nominations), and now its stars are praising their lead actor and producer, Lily Collins, for enabling them to rise above the pressure of their Season 2 return (released Dec. 22 at 12:00 a.m. PT/3:00 a.m. ET).
“I think what really grounded us, in Season 2 especially, is having someone like Lily as the number one,” Ashley Park who plays Emily’s friend Mindy on Emily in Paris told Yahoo Canada. “She came in on day one of Season 1 just completely grounded, and as a peer, and as a comrade to everybody.”
“I think having a team leader like that,...none of us really felt the pressure, just that excitement with each other that we get to do this again.”
Emily in Paris heartthrob Lucas Bravo, who plays Gabriel, told Yahoo Canada that while they shot Season 1 of the show in Paris without a lot of attention from the public, Season 2 was a completely different situation.
“We came back to set with people and fans on the streets, whenever we would shoot outside, people everywhere,” Bravo explained.
“I feel like the entire Season 2 is already somewhere, it has been recorded on various phones, because there were always people shooting. It really reminded us that we had responsibility and we needed to take this seriously.”
For Collins, she teased that Season 2 is very much about continuing to immerse Emily further into French culture.
“There's only so much you can do in 10 episodes,” Collins said. “The nature of the story is a fish-out-of-water story, where a young woman comes to a foreign city, doesn't know the language, doesn't know the people, hasn’t met anyone, and is trying to find her footing.”
“Season 2 allows for more storylines, shedding light on the different characters that she's already met and having their own storylines.”
She added that the whole cast and crew was ready to “come back with a bang” to continue to bring “joy and escapism” to its Emily in Paris’ massive audience.
Gabriel and Emily's relationship: Gabriel needs to 'grow up'
In Season 2, after Emily’s intimate night with Gabriel when he was supposed to be moving to Normandy, which doesn't happen after Emily's client Antoine (William Abadie) backs Gabriel to buy the restaurant where he works, Emily tries to be friends with both Gabriel and his now ex-girlfriend Camille (Camille Razat). Above all of that, Emily is also trying comfort Camille who is still trying to manage her own emotions about Gabriel staying in Paris.
For the future of Emily and Gabriel’s relationship, Bravo admits that his character has to “figure some stuff out.”
“There's a lot of passion between Emily and him, of course it's beautiful to live it and just fall into passion, but they're not kids anymore,” he said. “A lot of people are involved and they're hurting people around them, and even, professionally speaking, it can get tricky.”
“I feel like Gabriel needs to grow up in a sense because he’s been kind of a lost kid all along and just not really standing up by his choices, and just following his curiosity… It's a season of truth unraveling.”
Emily, the type-A personality that she is, tries to dive deeper into her work as a way to distract herself from her messy personal life, proving difficult as they become more intertwined, but she is seemingly a bit more comfortable with her French work environment.
More French in 'Emily in Paris'
Part of creating that more "immersive" experience for Emily, as the show’s star describes it, also includes a lot more French dialogue throughout the show. While in Season 1 we often saw the French characters speaking English amongst themselves, in Season 2, when Emily is not around, they are frequently speaking French.
Both Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, who plays the endearing but intimidating head of Savoir, Sylvie, and Samuel Arnold, who plays co-worker Julien, said this change allowed them to rediscover their characters.
“I feel like I don't have the same energy when I speak French than when I speak English,...so it was pretty cool to be able to get to know the proper French Julien as well, and get to know the other characters’ French version of themselves,” Arnold explained.
Leroy-Beaulieu echoed Arnold’s comments, saying that she does not have the same personality when she speaks different languages.
“The characters take another kind of shade but in the core they're the same,” she said. “They have this other way of coming out, which is super interesting when you speak in a different language.”
New love interest for Emily adds to already messy love life
While Emily is seemingly taking baby steps towards becoming a participating member of Paris society and culture, she does get a bit sidetracked in Season 2 when she connects with Alfie from London (Lucien Laviscount), who she meets in her French class. He is not too keen on Paris, Alfie is really just waiting out his limited-time work commitment in the city.
While Alfie is a confident, often cynical guy who is quite set in his ways, Lucien Laviscount admitted to Yahoo Canada that he was initially nervous about stepping onto the set of a show that has been watched by millions of people around the world.
“It's like the new kid at school, but I think that was all shattered as soon as I met everyone,” he said.
“Lily’s fun to play with,...she's a vibe and and I love the fact that we butt heads and it gives us somewhere to go, we get to understand each other differently than a lot of the characters that she's met throughout Season 1.”
Without giving too much away for what happens in Season 2, if you were someone who is coming back to see the result of the Season 1 cliffhanger, Emily is Paris leaves you with even more unanswered questions by the end of the second season.
“The last episode was fantastic for me, because I love what I have to do in it,” Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu teased about her last two scenes in particular.
Her costar Samuel Arnold is personally a fan of cliffhangers so he was definitely a fan of how Emily in Paris closes out Season 2, but even the stars don’t know what happens on the other side, should there be a Season 3 of the show.
“I don't mind waiting to know what's going to happen next but then I was like, my sisters, they're going to torture me to know and actually, I don't know the info,” he said.