BY TAYLOR NEUMANN
Some of us only have dreams of vacationing in the south of France, but for the deceptive (and exceedingly rich) characters in Ovation’s new drama Riviera, premiering Saturday, it’s just what they call home. The series spins a slippery story about an art collector who mysteriously dies in an explosion, leaving behind his new wife (Julia Stiles), his ex-wife and his children. Stiles talked to TV Weekly about her intense role, the intricacies of her character and what’s it’s really like shooting in that glorious locale.
If you could explain what the show is about to people, what would you tell them?
Julia Stiles: The inspiration for the show was this idea that behind every great fortune is a great crime. It’s set in the world of the very wealthy elite in Europe, but the focus is the sort of darker things that go on in that world beneath the glamour. I play a woman who doesn’t actually come from wealth, but she has worked her way up in the art world as a curator and a collector. She married into wealth. So, she’s navigating dealing with his estate, dealing with the rest of his family that doesn’t want her around — his ex-wife and three grown children — and dealing with discovering a lot of the deception that was in their marriage. She’s discovering that her marriage was kind of a fraud as well.
What do you love about playing Georgina?
She’s seemingly naive, but she very quickly rises to the occasion, so to speak. She really has a strong backbone, and I think she is insistent on proving to herself that she wasn’t that dumb in terms of being fooled by her husband. She finds herself in these really bizarre situations and also somewhat dangerous and challenging situations, and she’s always surprising.
How was it filming in the south of France?
Oh my god, it’s amazing. When you’re in it in the middle of shooting, you can sometimes take it for granted, but then you step away from filming and I’m like, “Oh my god, that was just a dream.” I mean, everything. We were based in Nice, and I would live there even if I weren’t working there … and then, the food is extraordinary.
What’s next for you?
We finished [filming Season 2]. … We were talking about a Season 3, but it’s not totally confirmed yet. I have a 1-year-old, so I’m happily taking time with him to go to swim lessons. … I’m very interested in writing and directing my own project, but it’s hard to find time to do that. It’s just something that I would like to do, and it’s a good time too because there seem to be more opportunities for women, and actresses certainly, to create their own shows.
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