Darren Star Lives In Los Angeles, New York And Paris

Emily in Paris’ Creator Darren Star Wasn’t Going for a Millennial Stereotype

I thought you would like this —LWH

The TV showrunner also talks about his Oura ring obsession, how his routines change from city to city and his favorite ‘White Lotus’ character

Dar­ren Star is one of TV’s great­est ro­man­tics. From “Sex and the City” to “Emily in Paris,” the show­mak­er’s sig­na­tures in­clude love tri­an­gles, lav­ish par­ties, grand ges­tures and, of course, over-the-top out­fits. While film­ing the third sea­son of his Net­flix com­edy star­ring Lily Collins, which is now stream­ing, he found plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to feel the magic him­self—such as shoot­ing a scene at the top of the Eif­fel Tower late at night.

“You can’t get up there un­til af­ter 1 a.m. to film,” says Mr. Star, 61. “When you write things, it’s sort of a dream of what you’d like things to be, and in this case, what we dreamed, we were able to get on the screen.”

Mr. Star, who lives in Los An­ge­les, New York and Paris, likes to be­gin each day read­ing hard copies of the news­pa­pers. And like Emily, he loves to in­dulge in a freshly baked crois­sant. Here, he shares the cafe where he starts his days in each city and why pro­cras­ti­na­tion is a key to his suc­cess. 

What time do you get up on Mon­days, and what’s the first thing you do?

I get up at 7 a.m., with or with­out my alarm. I’ve got­ten very ob­ses­sive about all my sleep apps. I wear my Apple Watch and my Oura ring, and the first thing I do when I wake-up is cross ref­er­ence how much sleep I’ve got­ten. They’re gen­er­ally pretty in sync. The Oura ring is nice be­cause if I’ve got­ten a bad night’s sleep, it’ll give me lit­tle en­cour­ag­ing slo­gans like, “You’ll be OK.” 

What do you eat for break­fast? 

I’ll do a cou­ple shots of espresso when I wake up. I love go­ing out to break­fast. In Paris, I love go­ing to Café de Flore and buy­ing the pa­pers [at] the news­stand right there. In L.A., Kings Road Café or Sycamore Kitchen. In New York, I love go­ing to Balt­hazar and sit­ting at the counter there. 

What are your writ­ing rou­tines like? Is there a place where you get your best writ­ing done? 

I’m a big pro­cras­ti­na­tor. I’ll let the stress and ten­sion of the dead­line build up un­til fi­nally I can do it lit­er­ally any­where. I can sit on the Jit­ney go­ing to the Hamp­tons and write. Some­thing clicks where I’m just all in. I can very eas­ily write in bed.

What’s a vice of yours?

A great al­mond crois­sant. 

Emily is very mil­len­nial, while “Sex and the City” is known for its por­trayal of Gen X women. How do you think the two gen­er­a­tions are dif­fer­ent? Which gen­er­a­tional stereo­types do you ac­tu­ally be­lieve? 

The re­la­tion­ship to pri­vacy and shar­ing is dif­fer­ent be­tween those two gen­er­a­tions. You can’t make too many broad gen­er­al­iza­tions be­cause a char­ac­ter like Emily is a mil­len­nial, but I don’t know if she fits the stereo­type of a mil­len­nial. She’s an am­bi­tious striver—I feel like that’s a char­ac­ter that’s present in every gen­er­a­tion. She’s some­one who wants to suc­ceed and has a big heart. 

In the show’s love tri­an­gle, are you Team Gabriel or Team Al­fie?

I’m Team Emily.

What are you read­ing and watch-ing?

I have some go-to books I love for in­spi­ra­tion, like “The War of Art.” I love read­ing his­tory and nov­els. I just fin­ished “The Lin­coln High­way” by Amor Towles and now I’m read­ing “The Splen­did and the Vile” by Erik Lar­son. I watched the last sea­sons of “The Crown” [and] “The White Lo­tus.”

Do you have a fa­vorite “White Lo­tus”char­ac­ter?

Well, Jen­nifer Coolidge. I could watch it with the sound off, and I would still be en­joy­ing watch­ing her. 

What were you most look­ing for when you tried to hire the team around you?

You have to feel like you have chem­istry with the peo­ple you’re spend­ing time with. You’ve got to feel like there’s an in­stinct for that. A sense of hu­mor. I’ve been work­ing with a lot of the same tal­ented writ­ers over the years. When you’re hav­ing fun to­gether in the room, that sen­si­bil­ity gets trans­lated into the show. Putting to­gether a writ­ing staff in a way is like putting to­gether a great din­ner party. You want dif­fer­ent voices that all work in har­mony to­gether. 

What’s a piece of ad­vice you’ve got­ten that’s guided you?

Don’t be­lieve every­thing you think. We all get into those cy­cles of neg­a­tive think­ing, and I think that was a nice piece of ad­vice.

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