Julia Stiles became hooked on the premise for “Riviera” as soon as the series came her way.
“The idea that behind every great fortune is a great crime” is how show creator Neil Jordan (“The Borgias,” “The Crying Game”) described the thriller to the “Jason Bourne” star, clearly no stranger to the genre. The fact it was shot in the sumptuous setting of the south of France? Icing on the cake. The 36-year-old plays Georgina Clios, an art curator whose billionaire banker husband Constantine (Anthony LaPaglia) meets an untimely demise early on in the show.
It’s in the aftermath of his death that Georgina unearths the sinister origins of her husband’s wealth, and the more she uncovers, the more dangerous her life becomes.
Studying the art world for the role fascinated the actress, who told us that some of her personal favorite art can be found on the streets of New York City — in particular, Keith Haring’s “Crack is Wack” mural, located in an East Harlem handball court.
“To me, that’s a piece of New York history,” she says. “I do really appreciate graffiti art and how it is for public consumption and the ‘Crack is Wack’ mural, to me, is so iconic and from my childhood.”
Proud of her SoHo origins, Stiles has been known to lament the disappearing “authenticity” of the city she grew up in.
“I’ve had to let go of the idea that there’s an ‘authentic’ New York,” she says, “because New York is always changing. But the parts of New York that make me nostalgic are sort of familiar to me. I guess now more parts of Brooklyn, or the really old institutions that never change like The Met and a lot of the art museums and Central Park.”
Though she’s considered one of the more private celebrities, anyone who follows Stiles on Instagram knows she’s expecting her first child. The star “couldn’t resist” posting a mirror selfie early last month, showcasing a burgeoning baby bump.
Unlike Stiles, the baby may not be destined to be raised a New Yorker. “My [fiancé is] Canadian and he works in Canada mostly, so we’re kind of rooted there now,” she says. “Although we may go back to France for the second season of the show. It’s not official yet.”
‘Riviera’ season one is now streaming on Sundance Now.