Lily Collins Says 'Emily In Paris' Made Changes to Season 2 After Golden Globes Backlash
By Paige Gawley
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Lily Collins isn't blind to the criticism surrounding Emily in Paris. The 32-year-old actress covers the December issue of Glamour, and, in the accompanying interview, opens up about the critiques of her Netflix series and how season 2 is addressing them.
When it debuted on Netflix in October 2020, amid quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emily in Paris was loved by some for its bubbly story about an American marketing executive sent to Paris for work, while others were less than pleased.
"We never represented it as anything other than what it was going to be. And we didn't know the world would be in the state that it was in when it came out," Collins says. "People said they were laughing and smiling for the first time in a long time, that it reminded them of what fun felt like and that we were able to offer some escapism and romanticism and travel. I was so proud of that. I did not expect it to all of a sudden be something that people were upset [about]."
As for what those people didn't like about the show, some viewers balked at the series' depiction of French culture and its call-out of deep dish pizza, as well as Collins getting her own character's age wrong in an interview.
"We do poke fun at America too. Emily is just as willing to mention things about where she’s from, and they joke about her as much as things are joked about her coworkers or the way of life there. And so when it was little nitpicky things about deep-dish, or that I messed up from the age, I laughed about that. I messed up, I’m so sorry," Collins says in defense of the show. "I know that in this industry, having been in it, having grown up in it, you know that not everyone’s going to love what you do all the time."
The critiques turned more serious in February 2021, when Emily in Paris earned two Golden Globe nominations. The show's noms led to criticism of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for overlooking Black-led projects in favor of ones such as the Netflix series. It later came out that the HFPA had no Black members, something they pledged to change.
"It was definitely an interesting time for the world when those Golden Globe nominations came out," Collins admits. "Honestly, my focus and my concern [at the time] was more on the subject matter at hand and change that needed to be made, as opposed to how I fit into all of that with the show. Yeah, it was definitely a lot."
That experience led Collins, a producer on Emily in Paris, to have "lots of conversations" with the streaming service about the importance of diversity on season 2 of the series.
"I was really passionate about including [more] women, people of color, and also sexual orientation, to really show more of what the world is, and be a part of the Emily family," she says. "If there's ever an opportunity to be better, do better, and have more representation and inclusion, you should run with it."
"There were certain conversations that we became a part of [such as the Golden Globes]... and while I don’t think I expected to be thrown into it in the way in which we were, I felt like it was definitely an opportunity to be able to do better in season 2," Collins adds. "It was definitely difficult to go through in a sense, but nowhere near as difficult as what the overall conversation was. And that was what was most important."
After taking all the critiques to heart, and making changes in front of and behind the camera, Collins promises an updated version of Emily in Paris for its sophomore season.
"You really go into different areas of the city, and see Emily trying a little harder and making an effort in her new city," she says. "She's really leaning into the environment and allowing herself to embrace it and become one with it."
Not everything will be different, though.
"It's a heightened version of this world because it’s a comedy. And it’s a Darren Star–produced, created, colorful, bright, romantic version of what the story would be," Collins explains, before addressing her hopes for season 2.
"I really hope people laugh and smile and get to have the same feelings of escapism and fun that they did the first season," she says. "I hope viewers find more of themselves in different characters, and feel seen and represented in the show. And I hope that we get a season three, because I really hope we get to come back and do this again."