With most of the world in lockdown, I got a telephone interview with Julia Stiles.
It was exciting to chat with the talented Hollywood actress. Of course, fans will remember her from 'Save the Last Dance", "The Bourne Identity" along with its sequels, "Silver Linings Playbook", "Hustlers" and "Dexter", to name a few.
Stiles opened up more about the second season of "Riviera", a stylish and seductive drama on BBC First.
Season one centred on Georgina Clios (Stiles), the second wife of billionaire Constantine Clios (Anthony LaPaglia). When he is brutally murdered, Georgina, an art curator worth her weight in gold, becomes a dog with a bone in getting to the bottom of who is responsible and why.
She proved herself beyond a trophy wife, especially at the end of the season.
“With season two, there is no delay,” she revealed. “We pick up right where we left off. Georgina is on the boat, where she dumped Adam’s (Iwan Rheon) body overboard. She gets shipwrecked. When she is finally okay and is rescued, she has to go back to the Clio estate.”
This season, Georgina does her best to get away with murder but it isn’t an easy task as she wrestles with many internal emotions over it.
Irina Atman (Lena Olin), who is Constantine’s first wife, in the BBC First drama, "Riviera".
She added: “It not only in terms of the authorities, its in terms of her own conscience. She has to watch the family whom she has a very complicated relationship with grieve over the loss of their son and brother, knowing she’s the one culpable. She feels torn because she feels justified but she also knows it’s not okay.”
Right from the get-go, Stiles was drawn to the show when creator Neil Jordan and the casting director approached her. Interestingly, she auditioned twice for projects with Jordon. The third time proved to be a charm.
After reading the script, she reflected: “I was struck, largely by the character of Georgina and, at the time, it felt like that episode was very different from anything on television. At the time, television was hyper-realistic and very gritty. The glamour and the setting of 'Riviera....and to have a female lead who is so reckless and stares danger in the face, to me, it was really enticing.”
She continued: “I didn’t know when I started the show that it was going to be three seasons, we just finished shooting season three and it has taken me to one of the most beautiful places in the world. I didn’t speak French before the show. I’ve managed to pick up a little broken french. I spent a lot of time in the south of France and in Argentina. It’s been such a wonderful opportunity for me.”
There are new characters added to the storyline this season: Juliet Stevenson as Lady Cassandra Eltham, Poppy Delevingne as Daphne Al-Qadar (Cassandra’s daughter), Jack Fox and Nico Eltham (Cassandra’s son) and Alex Lanipekun as Raafi Al-Qadar (Daphne’s wealthy philanthropist husband).
Shedding light on how their paths cross, Stiles revealed: “Raafi and Daphne rescue her. They take her aboard their yacht. Daphne is from a wealthy family that comes from old money. That family is kind of a mirror image to the Clio family. They have secrets in their past that are uncovered and they have an estate that they are trying to protect.”
As for her relationship with Irina Atman (Lena Olin), who is Constantine’s first wife, she shared: “That is one of my favourite relationships to watch in the show. The casting of Lena is so brilliant. She’s an extraordinary actress that I learned so much from. It could have been a relationship that was one dimensional.
"It could have been about the two wives having a competitive relationship that is catty and antagonistic. Instead, they surprise you and form an alliance based on necessity, they go back and forth between being enemies and allies.”
Georgina’s uncle Jeff Carter (played by Will Arnett) is introduced along with Noah Levy (played by Grégory Fitoussi), who is her new love interest.
“She’s a human being and a young woman who needs a companion and she’s not about to give her heart away and fall head over heels in love. But she’s intrigued by this man and they share some commonality. She’s testing the waters in terms of how close she can get to somebody…”
While Christos resentment of Georgina grows, she distracts herself by trying to uncover the person behind the murder of Raoul (Merveille Lukeba), a treasured art prodigy of the Clio foundation.
Georgina is trapped in a moral quagmire this season. With blood on her hands, can she expose another killer? Tune in to find out how she juggles her emotions as she navigates her way through some precarious situations and hostile adversaries while staying one step ahead of the law.