The actor gets real on season three of Sky’s Riviera, the intricacies and evolution of her character Daphne Eltham, and how she’s getting back into writing.
All clothing ALBERTA FERRETTI
Taken from the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Rollacoaster. Pre-order your copy now.
Sky original Riviera star Poppy Delevingne has learned a lot over quarantine, from new recipes to why not to reveal the show’s secrets to her dad if she doesn’t want her superfan sister to know about it. She’s been able to keep busy during this hectic period through her work with Save the Children as she waits, just like the rest of us, for the new season of Riviera this October.
Poppy has slowly, but surely, started to pursue more acting opportunities. In recent years, Poppy has worked on TV shows like National Geographic’s Genius, and films like Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Bittersweet Symphony, alongside long-time friend Suki Waterhouse.
Rollacoaster caught up with Poppy about what’s in store for season 3, the intricacies of her character Daphne, and how she’s getting back into writing. The upcoming season of Riviera is her second on the show and gives audiences another opportunity to escape into a world of glamour and deceit as Poppy continues to excite in her role as Daphne Eltham.
All clothing ALBERTA FERRETTI
What have the last few months been like for you?
At the start of the year I was filming season two of Riviera in Argentina. And when I got back to the UK on the last day of February we almost immediately went into quarantine. At the beginning, it felt very strange and scary. I was lucky because I was able to go to my place in the countryside where I have a garden and could be surrounded by nature. It also gave me a moment of pause to live in the present and really think about and be grateful for things. And I was finally able to learn to cook something more complicated than beans on toast.
Were you able to work at all?
I was busy with an initiative that I am a part of, Save the Children, which has been so important throughout quarantine. I helped them raise funds that went towards families and children that were hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis. Working on that kept me on my toes and I was grateful to have something that was helping in some way. Now I’m hoping that things can start getting back to normal so I can start working again.
I want to discuss Riviera with you since season 3 is coming out this month where you’re returning as your character Daphne for a second season. How did you develop the twin dynamic with your co-star Jack Fox for the role?
Jack and I were actually really lucky because we knew each other before we got cast in Riviera. We had done a modeling gig together years and years ago. Since then, we have known each other, not very well, but always had this kind of familiar connection with each other. When we went in to audition, we were already sort of comfortable with each other and we even ended up having a little sibling-like argument. The director just went, “Okay. We found our twins”. After spending a few days together, we started finishing each other’s sentences and people were like, “Wait, are you two actually related?”. It really felt like such a blessing that we had this connection pre-filming. And we’ve become such good friends on and off set.
This is your longest role on a television series so far. What was it like having to occupy this character for much longer than previous roles you’ve had?
You always want to embody your character, but for a project like this I think you definitely get more lost into your character. Daphne, throughout the two seasons she is a part of, really evolves. There is a huge evolution from season 2 going into season 3, where she embraces this darker side. You have to work a lot on that character and continue to stay true to her. I did quite a lot of research because I knew that in season three Daphne was going to have these sociopathic episodes and more darkness to her than before. I’ve read a lot of books to better understand who she is and find the little things that make Daphne tick. You definitely focus more on those types of things in building a character for a TV series. You kind of become that person while you’re filming. You have to let it happen and let go, which I really love doing. You almost don’t recognise yourself at some points.
Is it difficult to play a role that viewers may struggle to find likeable?
The way I think about Daphne in my head, I never thought I want this character to be likeable. I did want the audience to feel empathy towards her even if she wasn’t likeable. She was sort of pushed into the situation she finds herself in and I wanted people to see her demise, which causes her to become fragile and vulnerable. In the show in general, there are very few purely likeable characters, but that’s what I think is exciting to get sucked into. For me, in season 3, I wanted there to be this element of breaking free for Daphne, that she can be this woman that stands alone amongst all the chaos. What I love about Riviera are all the strong women that are featured in the series. We celebrate their independence regardless of how evil or dark they might be in expressing that.
How is the setting of the Riviera important to the show?
The Riviera is glamorous and it’s over the top. There is so much luxury, but with all the lavish living doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. It sort of influences all the characters by making a lot of them very unhappy and deceitful. I also think what’s wonderful about the setting is that it is almost a form of escapism. I think now more than ever audiences need that. When people watch it lets them escape into this world that is completely dazzling and over the top. The effect of the setting on the characters and the respite from the outside world for the audience is what makes it so captivating. I think that it adds to what Riviera is as a show and I like the juxtaposition between the glamour of the background with all the chaos that ensues.
What is challenging about acting in and being part of a series with so many surprises and so much suspense for viewers?
It’s really difficult because obviously it’s really evil to be giving things away. I might get in trouble for saying this, but I told my dad about the plot twist in this upcoming series. And he told my older sister by accident, who is a huge fan of the show, and all hell broke loose. I got phone calls coming from my sister going absolutely ballistic like, “Are you joking?”.
You seem to be acting a lot more recently than in the earlier part of your career, what do you think your work will look like in the next few years?
I always wanted to act since I was young and I want to do lots more within that industry. Right now, it feels like everything has sort of ground to a halt in terms of new projects being started. Recently, I’ve been thinking about when I was at school and how I used to write a lot. I’ve been digging up things that I used to write. I’ve been looking for some potential for a project that I could potentially write and produce myself. I think it’s important to fight for what you’re really passionate for and for me that means having to explore all the avenues available to broaden my horizons. That’s what I’ll have to do and that process makes me sort of excited. I’ve done a couple of auditions, but everything is still slowly getting back up and running. I just have to push myself even harder than I’ve had to before. Whatever path I choose it’s because I love it, so we’ll see. Fingers crossed.
Sky original Riviera Series 3 is coming to Sky Atlantic and NOW TV today.
Florrie White at Bryant Artists