Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu has gained legions of fans thanks to her scene-stealing performance as Sylvie Grateau, Lily Collins’s ultra-cool boss in the much-talked about Netflix show, Emily In Paris.
Eagle-eyed Sylvie runs the office of luxury marketing company Savoir, where Emily has been transplanted from her home in the American Midwest.
The Parisienne clashes with Emily over her modern ideas, including using Instagram to promote her fashionista clients.
Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu has gained legions of fans thanks to her scene-stealing performance as Sylvie Grateau, Lily Collins’s ultra-cool boss in the much-talked about Netflix show, Emily In Paris
‘I think Sylvie’s afraid of Emily, but she also admires her boldness,’ the 57-year-old actress said from her home in lockdown Paris on Wednesday.
‘She was somebody who was bold herself when she was younger.
‘I think there’s also jealousy that has to do with seeing someone waltzing into her office. But eventually she’s sees Emily’s not making all the wrong choices.’
Leroy-Beaulieu also feels that Sylvie has an underlying warmth about her. ‘It was easy for me to relate to that,’ she said. But ‘underlying’ is the operative word. Concealing Sylvie’s soft centre is that ‘whole walking around being rude’ thing, and she conceded that bit of the performance ‘was kind of easier, because Parisians are like that’.
When I interviewed Darren Star, who created Emily In Paris (which is still available to stream, by the way) he described Sylvie as a ‘grade-A bitch’; but one who ‘looks fantastic’. Leroy-Beaulieu roared with laughter when I recounted that conversation. ‘I think she is a bitch! Who doesn’t love bitches?!’
She continued: ‘I know a lot of these women. Obviously, they have this enormous vulnerability, which they cannot show. And also a lot of these women had to sacrifice their family, or love, or whatever, so they could be really tough and powerful. They had to carry that pain around, but it can’t show … because they’re powerful!’
Warming to her theme, she added: ‘So they wear all these clothes and jewellery, and they walk in a certain way, just to hide their vulnerability.
‘People who are strong don’t need to shout about it. But Sylvie needs to put on a show.’
Leroy-Beaulieu grew up in an artistic household. Her father, Philippe Leroy, was an actor. Her mother, Francoise Laurent, ran her own line of fashion accessories — jewellery, knitwear and bags — for Marc Bohan, the creative force at Dior. The actress wore some of her mother’s gems in the show.
I told Philippine I detected echoes of golden-age stars such as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Philippine’s Sylvie; plus a nod and a wink to Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. ‘Bette Davis was on my mind a lot,’ she agreed.
Eagle-eyed Sylvie runs the office of luxury marketing company Savoir, where Emily has been transplanted from her home in the American Midwest
When I apologised for this line of discussion — a female boss’s outfits, or her psychology — when I’m unlikely to ask the same of a male actor, she put me at ease.
‘I’m not against the fact that a woman can be well dressed, and we can talk about it. It’s nice!
‘Being French, I’m happy that we have beautiful clothes, and beautiful fashion, and I think a woman’s body — when it’s well dressed — is beautiful to watch. I’m not offended. I’m not that kind of a feminist!’
She then gave me a tutorial on the secret of how French women manage to look so effortlessly chic. Not for me, dear reader! But for all of you.
‘It’s about a mixture of comfort and beauty. You can’t be beautiful if you’re not comfortable. Your face is going to look like you’re tired of wearing heels. It has to be a mixture of highly chic, but also super comfortable.’
Leroy-Beaulieu wouldn’t discuss her private life, except to tell me that she has a grown-up daughter who is an artist, but ‘not at all in showbusiness’.
‘That’s all I’m going to say,’ she declared.
Let’s hope we see more of Philippine, whenever it’s possible to film the second season of Emily In Paris, in the City of Lights.
The boys are back in town!
The Jersey Boys musical is working its way back into London, nearly four years after it closed at the Piccadilly Theatre.
‘We were ready to come back the day after we left,’ joked Michael David, co-founder of Broadway partnership the Dodgers, one of the show’s producers.
David, speaking from New York, said that Howard Panter and Rosemary Squires made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: the chance to open the newly reconfigured — and newly named — Trafalgar Theatre, with previews from April 14 (subject to Government guidelines). The hope is that the show will be able to perform with no social distancing, but strict safety procedures in place.
David said that a special clause had been written into the contract with the Trafalgar ensuring that the show will only open with full capacity seating. If social distancing restrictions are still in force in April, the Jersey Boys will wait until they’ve been lifted.
The Jersey Boys musical is working its way back into London, nearly four years after it closed at the Piccadilly Theatre
As with Broadway, David told me ‘we can’t pay our bills if we are socially distanced’.
The production features 20 or so people on stage, plus the same number backstage, and it should be a boost for freelancers onstage and backstage, who have not earned a penny since theatres shut back in March.
David said he hoped director Des McAnuff, choreographer Sergio Trujillo and other members of the original creative team will be able to travel from the U.S. for rehearsals.
Casting will start soon for the show, based on 1950s and 1960s heart-throbs Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, their music, and how one of their members had links to organised crime.
Songs include Working My Way Back To You, Fallen Angel and Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You (still love the way that number was used in The Deer Hunter).
n Check jerseyboyslondon.com for tickets, which go on sale from today.