×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Julia Stiles Looks Back at ‘Wicked’ and Ahead to ‘Riviera’

In the early 2000s, Julia Stiles was a teen movie superstar with lead roles in such sleeper hits as “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Save the Last Dance.” But her first mention in Variety came with the edgy indie drama “Wicked” (then titled “The Second Wife”), in which she played a teenager out to seduce her widowed father. Twenty years later a very grown-up Stiles is headlining the glitzy thriller “Riviera” from Sky Vision and creator Neil Jordan that world premieres at Mip.

What are your memories of working on “Wicked”?
I think I was 16 when we made it. It was my first lead role, it was pretty exciting. It was the first time I got to go to California. Michael Steinberg, the director, was really lovely and we’ve stayed friends since then. It was my first foray into being a working actress, but it was a weird moment in time. I didn’t really start working regularly until a few years later, so it was like this fun project I got to work on, and then I went back to high school and life was pretty much the same.

Did you have acting ambitions at an early age?
As a teenager I don’t think I thought beyond college, I don’t think I understood what the idea of a career was. I had a small part in “The Devil’s Own” (with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt), which was exciting. I had worked in a theater company in New York City, so I knew I enjoyed performing. Film was new for me. I knew I wanted to pursue it, but I wasn’t totally strategic about what that would mean years down the road.

If you could give yourself advice at that time, what would it be?
I would say enjoy it and play because what we do as actors is play. The amazing places in the world you get to go to, the people you meet — it’s a fantastic job.

How did “Riviera” come to you?
I had just finished working on “Jason Bourne.” I was in an airport lounge waiting for my flight. My agent called and said, “You have to read this, it shoots in the South of France and Neil Jordan created it.” I responded on a visceral level to the script. It was very sophisticated and poetic. And shooting in the South of France — not only was it a place I wanted to go, but a really interesting setting for a show.

What was it like to shoot there?
Utterly amazing. It’s such a beautiful place to live, and such an interesting experience to be there from the peak summer tourist season through the fall and in the winter. I didn’t speak French before I got there. I was able to pick some up so I could get by so that was really satisfying.

Does it feel different working on a European show?
There’s the element of the French crew and the international feeling and setting of the show. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a British show or because it’s Sky, but I felt really respected by the producers in terms of my input. I felt like it’s a really nice collaboration, and I don’t know that that always happens with actors. Not only was there a level of sophistication with the writing, but the studio’s mantra was to be bold. One of the main goals was to be surprising and unexpected in what these characters do and the choices they make. I felt like I had a say in making some of those changes and story developments.

You’ll be back in France for the premiere. What are you looking forward to?
The food, the sunshine, and hearing people speaking French.

More TV

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

  • Nicole Maines Supergirl Trans Hollywood Portrait

    TV Roundup: 'Supergirl' Drops First Look at Nicole Maines as TV's First Trans Superhero

    In today’s TV News Roundup, The CW releases a first look at Nicole Maines on “Supergirl” and Variety unveils an exclusive look at Gabriel Iglesias’ new comedy special.  FIRST LOOKS truTV has released the first trailer for season 2 of Emmy-nominated series “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” The variety sketch comedy returns Tuesday, Feb. 19 at [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most

    Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most Outrageous Moments

    It is perhaps only fitting that two documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, one of the most high-profile fraudulent failures in history, would arrive during the same week — a fitting cap on a tragicomedy of errors that, as both films outline in excruciating detail, unfolded like a slow-motion plane crash in the spring of [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content