Samuel Arnold, the actor behind the brutally direct yet absolutely fabulous character Julien from the hit Netflix show "Emily in Paris", sat down with us for an interview and photo shoot in his home city of Paris.
Samuel started as a professional dancer, before transitioning to acting at the age of 20.He began studying acting in Paris and then moved to London to hone his craft. He has performed in London at the National Theatre in Anthony and Cleopatra alongside Ralph Fiennes and then starred in the French TV film Tuer un Homme.
With the release of season 2 of Emily in Paris, we are all falling more and more for Julien as we get to see his character evolve, getting closer to Emily (Lily Collins) becoming more competitive and if possible ....even more of a fashionista.
IRK was honored to get to spend time with Samuel in Paris at the Hotel Raphael. He showed us just how broad his range is in a photo editorial shot exclusively for IRK and also how kind and down to earth the real Samuel Arnold is.
IRK: You grew up in the suburbs of Paris. How does the Paris you lived in compare to the Paris of the show? Is Paris as sexy as Emily in Paris makes it out to be? What was it like to film around the city you grew up in? What was your favorite moment of filming?
SAMUEL: The Paris I lived in was not as glamorous. I'd take the metro, Emily would get a taxi, I'd eat a kebab, Emily would get a table at Cafe de flore... Nevertheless, Paris is as sexy as the show portrays it, but it can also be ugly and dirty in real life. The show focuses on the bright side. My favorite moment of filming Emily in Paris was filming Emily in Paris.
IRK: Is there any of your character, Julien, in you? Do you connect with him on any level?
SAMUEL: I share Julien's positivity but he is way more extroverted than I am. He is a young black man in Paris, doing his dream job, working with the best... I connect with him on that level.
IRK: How has your character evolved from seasons 1 to 2?
SAMUEL: In season 1 Julien and other characters were there to support and present Emily Cooper to the audience. Season 2 allows us to dive a bit more into Julien's world. We get to see him being professional, competitive and even more fashionable than before.
IRK: Julien and Emily have built a bond as the show has continued. Does that reflect your relationship with Lily Collins? SAMUEL: It definitely does. I believe the friendship Lily and I have off screen add flavours to Julien and Emily's friendship on screen.
IRK: You live in London and for some time now. What inspired you to move there?
SAMUEL: I always admired British actor's work and training, so I moved over there to be trained classically, and stayed because there are more opportunities for an actor like me in London than in Paris.
IRK: When did you decide to become an actor? Who has been your biggest influence? how was the transition from dancer to Actor?
SAMUEL: I always wanted to be an actor, but I decided to go for it when I was 20. I see story telling in everything and it influences me a lot. I haven't transitioned from dancer to actor. I'm a dancer, an actor and more... I am an artist.
IRK: What is the most fulfilling aspect about acting ? and about being on such a hit show?
SAMUEL: Being an actor allows me to see the world through the eyes of someone else. Each character gets me closer to understand the human behavior and it grows my empathy. Being on a number one hit show means that a lot of people get to see my work, and I get to impact the audience positively.
IRK: What is the first thing you did to research and approach your role in Emily in Paris?
SAMUEL: I red the script a few times, that is a very good way to start.
IRK: We met during Men's Fashion Week in Paris. What did you think of the shows you saw and did you go to any fabulous parties?
SAMUEL: I didn't even know it was the fashion week when I came to Paris and it was a first for me. I loved the shows, It was beautiful. The designers are truly amazing artists. When it come to parties, It felt good to go out in beautiful venues in Paris surrounded by beautiful people.
IRK: What is the first thing you do to research and approach a role? How did you approach creating Julien? What would be your dream role be?
SAMUEL: I read the script over and over again, I define what is the story about, and then it depends on the project and the character. I always adapt my work to it. My dream Role would be a main role that allows me to tell a meaningful story with passionate people working on this project with me.
IRK: Where would you like to see Julien's character go in a possible season 3? !!!!! We are So happy there's another season!!!
SAMUEL: I'd love to see Julien's career grow bigger, to see his friends outside of work, his family, to see him party ... I want us to experience his world fully.
IRK: Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu has also been a break out star and style star in the show, as an LGBTQ+ character does Julien secretly worship or loathe Sylvie? her style? do you see them becoming closer next season?
SAMUEL: Julien respects and values Sylvie, he is also a bit afraid of her. He loves and is loyal to her, but that's not a secret.
IRK: We love your character Julien however we can see, through your photos for IRK, that you are extremely versatile. What role do you want to play next? SAMUEL: Something darker and different. I would love to have the opportunity to show that versatility to the world. IRK: What advice would you give to aspiring actors/actresses and artists?
SAMUEL: Don't wait get with your friends and create your own work. It's 2022 You have the tools.
Featuring Samuel Arnold @superssama
Photographer FRENCH COWBOY @french_cowboy
Executive Producer & Interview by Cannon @thecannonmediagroup
Producer & Stylist Martin Rybak @martinmanuelry
Second Stylist Olga Gasnier @olga.gasnier
MUA & Hair Ludovic Dupuis @ludovicdupuis
Location Hotel Raphael Paris @hotelraphaelparis