Julia Stiles brings "reckless determination" to her lead role in “Riviera” series


Actress Julia Stiles, who you’ll remember from her teen movie roles in “Save the Last Dance” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” and more recently, “Silver Linings Playbook,” the Jason Bourne movie series and “Dexter,” stopped by “Salon Talks” to discuss her lead role in “Riviera,” now in its second season on Sundance Now on June 20.

Stiles plays Georgina, the rich widow of a Greek billionaire with a mystery on her hands. Full of everything today’s short attention span audiences need to be captivated, “Riviera,” set in the South of France, has beautiful people, gorgeous scenery, deceit, crime, an unsolved murder, and high fashion.

"Part of me was like, ‘Ooh, the South of France, fancy dresses, high heels, sign me up,’ but really, I was struck by this character because she is the only American in the show and she doesn't come from wealth,” Stiles told SalonTV’s Alli Joseph. “She starts out as a kind of window into this world and the eyes for the audiences of people who can't relate to people who have helicopters and have fancy yachts and drivers, but she becomes corrupted by this world."

After Stiles’ character Georgina loses her billionaire husband Constantine Clios in a yacht explosion during season 1, she is shocked to discover the fortune that Clios had is, despite appearances, married by dishonesty, secrets, crime, and murder. Georgina's despair leads her to commit a murderous act herself, thereby drawing her into the intrigue further.

"She's doing the best that she can, and an otherwise good person, who does something that she's not proud of, but now is trying to figure out what she's going to do about it," Stiles said.

"I ask myself in the middle of a scene, why does this girl stay here...in the Riviera? Cause Julia, me, I would get on a plane to New York and get out of this family! But what appeals to me about her is that she's kind of reckless in her determination to keep things together, and keep her life in order the way she remembers it."

Stiles, known for playing strong, tough and resilient female characters, says she doesn't always realize her work is characterized that way, but appreciates the distinction. "One thing that is challenging about Riviera is showing Georgina's vulnerability, because she's not a sociopath, and she's not a stone-cold emotionless woman. For us, the challenge was how do we get inside of her heart and her inner world?”

Watch the episode above to hear more about what’s in store for season 2 of “Riviera” and a preview of Stiles’ next film, “Hustlers,” where she stars opposite Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B, and plays the journalist who uncovers the story about a group of strippers who plan to steal tens of thousands of dollars from their Wall Street clients.

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