Darren Star, who received the honorary Golden Nymph during the opening ceremony of the 60th Monte-Carlo Television Festival, talked about his career debut and discussed what’s next with “Emily in Paris” and his next show with Netflix, “Uncoupled.”
“Uncoupled,” which Star is doing in partnership with Jeffrey Richman (“Modern Family”), is about a newly single gay man who has to navigate the dating scene as a man in his 40s after his husband of 17 years walks out on him.
Star suggested the single-camera comedy isn’t being created as a niche show, but rather a series with a broad appeal that’s about the “very universal experience” of “being in a relationship that ends very subtly and abruptly after so many years.”
“It’s about a couple that happens to be gay, but that’s really about the universality of relationships, and I think it will hopefully be a very modern, relatable series,” Star said.
“I like to write about my own world, my own experience, and I think that everybody’s gone through a breakup of some kind, they’ve been on one end or another — probably both. The couple who’s going through this is gay so I think it will give a new point of view on very universal story,” added Star.
Although “Uncoupled” will be set in New York and deal with romantic relationships, Star said it will not be a male-twist on “Sex and the City.” “There’s only one ‘Sex and the City,” joked Star, who added that the series is expected to start filming in the fall on location in New York, right after the second season of “Emily in Paris” wraps shooting.
Star said the common denominator in all the series he’s created is that they’re “all shows that are about one thing [he] can relate to and connect to.”
“Throughout my career, from ‘90210’ to ‘Melrose Place,’ to ‘Sex and the City’ to ‘Younger’… these are people I know and experiences I’ve had and experiences that I can draw on myself personally. Incidentally, emotionally, I can really understand who these characters are, because I’ve lived these experiences myself to a degree,” said Star.
Star also spoke about his experience filming a series in a foreign country, saying: “It’s certainly a very rich experience… and it’s a challenge… It’s really wonderful. So certainly, I would love to find a reason or have an opportunity to film in another location, like Italy, for example. It would be terrific.”
Season two of “Emily in Paris” is currently in production, and shot partly in the French Riviera, in Saint-Tropez. Star said he has some ideas for a third season, but it has not yet been ordered by Netflix. “First of all, the second season will air and then we’ll see what happens,” said Star.
During his tribute on Friday evening, Star received the honorary award from Monaco Prince Albert II and spoke about his start in the industry and the changes he has witnessed.
“When I was starting out as a young screenwriter and waiting tables hoping for a break, you have to go on blind faith and a lot perseverance, to perhaps a diluted belief, that against the odds, you will elbow your way from the studio door. I dreamed it, but I never imagined naturally it would bring me here tonight,” said Star, who hadn’t been at the festival in 10 years.
The creator said that when he started out, television was considered the “stepchild of film,” but he still felt that the medium had the “opportunity to be more relevant, especially to young audiences” than movies. “Today, the television universe that expanded beyond what I could have ever imagined, with streaming media has become international audiences around the world to share an entertaining experience in exactly the same time,” Star said.
The festival’s 60th edition boasts a fiction jury presided over by Måns Mårlind, the critically acclaimed Swedish creator and showrunner behind “Bron,” “Midnight Sun” and “Shadowplay.” Members of the jury include Joey Starr, the musician-turned-filmmaker and actor, “Das Boot” executive producer Moritz Polter, “Lilyhammer” producer Anders Tangen, French actor Arnaud Ducret and “The Syndicate” creator Kay Mellor.