After one too many spotlight-stealing moments on Emily’s (Lily Collins) account, “Emily in Paris” standout Julien (Samuel Arnold) has had enough: In the final moments of the hit Netflix series’ third season, the fashionista and marketing savant sets his sights on greener pastures — and away from Sylvie’s (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) upstart agency Grateau.
“I was very pleased when I read the script of Season 3 because we really get to see Julien in another light and see how passionate he is about his work and what he’s ready to do to get to the top and to win and to stand for himself,” Arnold told TheWrap about his character’s arc this season.
The breakout French actor, for whom the now “fully bilingual” show marks an international debut, characterized Julien’s simmering resentment against Emily as “very fair.” While Arnold said the two go-getters got off to a rough start in Season 1, they’ve since formed a genuine friendship that’s been “challenged” by Emily’s well-meaning, yet ultimately “clumsy,” intentions.
“They become friends and they really love each other, I think, and that’s why her taking so much space and undermining Julien, even though she might not be aware of it, [is] pretty painful for Julien and he’s got a lot of ego as well,” he explained. “Like, come on. He’s such a diva, but deeply there is a sense of being hurt.”
Creator Darren Star echoed these sentiments in a separate interview, saying, “Emily’s attitude about work or her competitive nature, it’s certainly affected the work culture at Sylvie’s company and I think Julien feels sidelined a little bit because Emily’s always about being the loudest voice in the room. I think that’s something that really offends Julien in a sense, because I feel like he does get steamrolled by Emily. Emily’s by no means a perfect character and I think Emily has to be more graceful in terms of work, but I think she’s done some damage that we’re going to see the fallout from in Season 4 with Julien.”
Already greenlit for a senior season, Arnold said he’d be thrilled to see the camera follow his character outside of the workplace.
“I already got what I wanted personally, which is I really wanted Julien to be a force of nature regarding the industry and I really wanted him to be a character that was fighting and trying to develop himself to become an amazing marketing executive,” he said. “I would love next season for him to be with his family, with his friends, partying at the club, just to get a sense of the world around him and get a bit more understanding of who he is, behind the beautiful clothes, behind the sassy behavior.”
Arnold, who previously appeared in French sitcom “Platane” and National Theatre Live’s production of “Antony & Cleopatra” with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, said he feels “very lucky and grateful” to be surrounded by a “supportive” cast on the Netflix production, which he described as offering “healthy environments where I can express myself.”
“It changed my life, like night and day,” he said. “Professionally speaking, obviously, it opened a lot of opportunities. It’s kind of a dream come true. As a young French man, I couldn’t speak English at first. I wanted to be an international actor, and getting this part just made it possible.”
Next up, the actor will be producing a short film in which he is also starring, called “Paris Treasures,” about a man who is on a desperate search for a public restroom and finds himself in a “strange gift shop with a robber whose mission might just align with his own.” The project, co-written and helmed by Emmy-nominated “Emily in Paris” producer Shihan Fé Blanca Fahim, is Arnold’s first producing credit.
“A bit stressful, I ain’t gonna lie,” he said about the film, which is shooting this month, chuckling.
Aside from gearing up for Season 4, there have also been “a lot” of auditions, which the actor can’t speak about yet.
“I can’t complain, honestly,” Arnold said. “Everything just clicked together. And the journey is amazing.”