“You know that saying that there are six people between every person in the world?” Lucien Laviscount asks over the phone. “There is, like, a quarter of a person between everyone and ‘Emily in Paris.’”
Which may sound like a bit of an exaggeration until you think back to what it was like when the Darren Star-created series landed on Netflix in October 2020. For weeks following, it was suddenly talked about everywhere — both hate-to-love and just genuinely love-to-love. The story of an American girl moving to Paris to work for the French chapter of her PR firm was the delightful escape from reality — and just in time for Christmas break, the second season has arrived on Netflix, with Emily still finding herself and a new love interest in her midst.
Enter Laviscount, the 29-year-old British actor who is known for BBC One series “Grange Hill” and “Waterloo Road,” CW’s “Katy Keene” and a season of “Celebrity Big Brother.” Laviscount plays Alfie, a London transplant who Emily meets in her French language class.
Laviscount had seen the show, and was living in New York when he got the call about the job.
“It was May the 6th, from what I remember, I was in New York, sitting in my apartment, working on some different material. My manager calls and she was, like, ‘Stop everything you’re doing, Darren Star wants to see you read.’ And I was, like, ‘What? Hold on? Darren Star? We’re talking thee Darren Star?’” Laviscount recalls. “I was, like, ‘S–t!’” he adds, before apologizing for swearing to an American.
He was sent about 13 pages of material, recorded a self-tape an hour later and an hour after that had heard from Star’s team.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done an audition so quickly in my life,” he says. “I’d seen the show and there’s one thing that Darren has which is so incredible with his writing team and everyone around him: They have this back and forth dialogue which is incredible. And it’s very fast. So when I got the sides for the audition, for the tape for him, I was so nervous, I was just, like, ‘I need to nail it.’ I wanted to do the writing justice.”
Season two returns with all the season one regulars and the addition of three new actors: Jeremy O. Harris, Arnaud Binard and Laviscount.
“I think joining any project second season comes with a whole load of, not anxiety, but it’s like you’re new to the school, basically. You’re going in there and people have created relationships, especially with a show of such magnitude. They’re all quite precious about who they are and what they’ve created. And to walk into that world is super intimidating, to be honest,” he says.
He describes the entire shoot as one of the best experiences he could’ve had, starting with the fact that it was his first time in Paris ever.
“I did two weeks in quarantine, in the most beautiful apartment, to be honest with you. Paris had just opened up from COVID-19, and Paris is…Paris is like a museum with the roof blown off. It’s incredible,” he says. “And to be working with those people, that anxiety of the first day of school, working with Lily [Collins] and Ashley [Park] and those guys there, they just completely just made you feel so at home. You’re never going to be on a set that feels like that [again].”
His character Alfie is new to the city and a bit lost, just as Emily was (is?) when she first arrived.
“How would I describe Alfie? I’d say he is all for the moment, lives in a sheltered world that he’s created for himself, that has little peep holes out of it,” Laviscount says. “And I think Emily makes some peep holes open up.”
Laviscount grew up in Burnley, England, a place he says is so far in the middle of nowhere that “there are towns in England, and there are cities, and then there is Burnley.” He had no idea what acting was as a kid but had supportive parents, and once he set his sights on it, there was no looking back.
“Emily in Paris” is definitely Laviscount’s biggest American debut to date — and, given he’s playing Emily’s new love interest, he likely has a massive amount of attention about to shift his way. Not that he’s dwelling on any of that — Laviscount seems both comfortable with the spotlight and ready for it, but he’s keeping his head down and focusing making work he’s proud of.
“I’d not even really thought about it,” he says of what comes after “Emily in Paris” introduces him to American audiences. “All I really think about is telling stories.”
That, and he’s still riding the high from the role of a lifetime.
“I’ve had the best year of my life,” he says, “and Paris is honestly a character within itself.”
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