• Interviews

French Actor Arnaud Binard on His Hopes for “Emily in Paris”

Emily in Paris which stars Lily Collins as Emily Cooper, an American pursuing a dream job in advertising in Paris, is a confection of an ideal. Critics have castigated it for not being dark, brooding and ‘serious.’ Those who do are missing the point. The show is the antidote to the harshness of a world turned upside-down by Covid which is currently recovering its sense of normalcy.

At the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, Arnaud Binard (Modern Family) who portrays Laurent, the love interest of Emily’s boss (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), sat down with us to talk about Season 4, how he almost didn’t make it into the show, and his daughter’s decision to follow her father into an acting career.

Why is the show successful?

Emily In Paris is a vision and fantasy. [Creator] Darren Star’s talent is to transcend everything you would call cliché and convert it into something substantial and human. The show goes beyond setting a place everybody has in mind. The Eiffel Tower, the croissant. He gives you that, grabs the audience and takes them deeper into humanity. It’s very interesting the way Darren does this.

How did you become part of the show?

I auditioned for Season 1 but I had a schedule problem. I was thrilled to join the show as a character at the very beginning of Season 2. But Darren is very creative, and suddenly I was back at the end of Season 2, and luckily they decided to develop my character in Season 3.


Do you know anything about the scripts for Season 4?

[Joking] Yeah. I can tell you everything about Season 4. No problem. To be totally transparent, I’m not aware of the details. It’s very exciting and promising. I know what I’d like for my character.

What would you like to have happen to your character?

I love the relationship that I have with Philippine’s character, Sylvie. I’m very attached to this relationship. Both of our characters have been struggling but with a lot of respect. I love this aspect because there is no dominance. I would love to experiment with more ups and downs. I think they’re going to go a bit deeper in our relationship. I would love to interact with Lily too. I’ve had a chance to act with her and it was brilliant. She’s a great actress, extraordinary. And a beautiful person. I’m very lucky because all my partners on Emily in Paris are just great people.

The show was scheduled to start shooting this summer and has been pushed back. How do you feel about the strikes?

In terms of scheduling the shooting, I only know that we have to be ready for this September. I have no official dates to give you.

There’s a lot of talent behind the world of entertainment and creation. These talents are writers. It’s the very beginning of entertainment. I totally support their desire for being recognized. I’m not into the details, but I have a great relationship with the writers, especially the ones working with us on Emily in Paris. I also worked on Modern Family. The writers were really amazing, talented and gifted, incredible workers. Once in a while, we have to understand that it’s good to share the success.

How much of you is there in Laurent? Did they make him a surfer because you love the sport?

I don’t know but I think it suits the character. I have to say that I don’t live in Paris and I’m grown in the southwest of France. I’ve been surfing a lot. It might be something that people can feel when they see me. I don’t know, but I like to think that it is in Laurent too.

There was a rumor that your daughter has a small part in Emily in Paris?

Julianne Binard is an actress with the same second name as mine. She’s not my daughter at all. I do have a daughter who’s an actress. She’s struggling to enter some great schools at the moment and she’s doing great. She’s going to work in early September on a new French TV series, and her name is Maya Rose Binard [Le Code; Menace Sur Kermadec]. But Julianne Binard? I never met her. I know, even Google says, “Arnaud Binard, his daughter Julianne Binard.”

Paris is known for food and fashion, the two Fs. When you think of Paris, what is the thing that comes to mind?

Paris is the town of history in the making. From my perspective, all the museums, the buildings, you have all the layers of French history. Walking through Paris is so intense. You can feel that in the people you meet. I know there’s a big cliché about Parisians. They’re always very rude. I don’t think it’s true. As soon as you go a little bit further, you break the ice and people tend to be very interesting and have a lot of singularity. I’m not from Paris, but I love Paris as a city representing the history of my country.

What does your wife or partner think of the show?

She loves the show, the way [costume designers] Marilyn Fitoussi in Season 1, Patricia Field, they created a very baroque and crazy style. This is what women and men love about the show because it’s a bit exuberant. We need this.

You are a very famous French actor with this international perspective. What makes you want to go wider?

Acting, expressing yourself and your feelings in another language, makes you discover new things about your own self. It’s very interesting how different. You wouldn’t think that.

You don’t own a television. Do your children understand you are famous?

For the youngest, it’s not even a question. They don’t care about that. For the eldest? It’s not a question. They’re pretty much happy with the idea that their father is having a little success in what he’s doing. But it’s nothing special. We live away from the cities so it’s pretty mellow, back country. We are by the ocean. It’s cool. They’re pretty balanced for the moment.