A little-known part of Paris comes to life in The Eddy, the new Netflix series that cast both accomplished actors and world-class musicians to bring the City of Lights to life. Emmy, the award-winning official publication of the Television Academy, which hits newsstands May 18, talks with stars André Holland and Amandla Stenberg along with the executive producers about the show's unique improvisational style.
Set in a contemporary jazz club and shot entirely in Paris, The Eddy (which premiered May 8) explores the lives of an American expat struggling to keep his club afloat. For executive producer Damien Chazelle (La La Land; First Man), who lived half his life in Paris and the other half in America, "It was about trying to steer away from the picture-postcard version and look at the messy, complicated modern city. It felt like something that I could bring my personal experience to."
Producer and composer Glen Ballard, who worked with Michael Jackson on the Bad album and co-wrote Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill, describes the series as a love letter to jazz. In the emmy cover story "Playing Paris," which was reported on location during production, the fictional Parisian jazz club is described as a character in this musical narrative. "Jazz has always found refuge here," says Ballard. "The jazz clubs have always stayed open. There are 10 to 12 jazz clubs here all the time, and young people are listening to jazz."
To meet the demand for talent, writer/producer Jack Thorne cast musicians and hoped they could act. "Glen and Damien were absolutely insistent that the band would play live," says Thorne. "We needed not just musicians, but jazz musicians—and jazz musicians at the top of their game. It was like, they have to be musicians and they have to act."
Holland, who plays the role of club owner and composer Elliot Udo, explains, "You get the sense on this show that everybody is doing something new. For example, the musicians are also acting, playing major parts. That's something they haven't done before." Like other actors on the show, Holland was asked to learn to play an instrument. "Playing piano is something I'm going to be doing for life now," he says. Stenberg was cast as Elliot's estranged daughter, Julie. "I automatically connected to the character. I was named after a jazz album [Miles Davis' Amandla], so there's always been jazz in my life," says Stenberg.
"Every day we come in ... sometimes we work directly from the script; other days we improvise entire scenes," says Holland. "Everyone is coming into this creative space having to do something new, so what you feel when you watch the music being performed is that sense of excitement. You don't know what's going to happen next," Stenberg adds. "The one thing that brings us all together is the music."
Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:
- In "Animal Attraction" emmy talks to Dr. Jonny Keeling of Seven Worlds One Planet about how the BBC America series stays relevant and contemporary.
- Seth Meyers credits his close friend and former SNL colleague Tina Fey for his decision to champion women on his hit late-night talk show—so much so that he says, "The more women you have on your show, the greater the overall talent." In "What Tina Taught Him," emmy speaks with five writers on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyer: Amber Ruffin, Jenny Hagel, Karen Chee, Dina Gusovsky and Allison Hord.
- Matt Bomer, Julia Garner, Kaitlyn Dever, Sarah Snook and Bowen Yang garnered praise for their performances during the current Emmy season. "High Five" talks to these acclaimed actors about their standout work.
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. It showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make TV happen, from the stars of top shows to the pros behind the cameras, covering programming trends and advances in technology. Honored consistently for excellence, emmy is a six-time Maggie Award winner as Best Trade Publication in Communications or the Arts and has collected 52 Maggies from the Western Publishing Association. Emmy is available on selected newsstands and at TelevisionAcademy.com for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.
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