Riviera star Julia Stiles: I have an aversion to Twitter because of Donald Trump

The actress talks about her love for Alan Partridge and how comedy is a "medicine for the current state of US politics”

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In Riviera you’re living the lavish life on the south coast of France – are things as glamorous at home?

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No! My house is pretty modest – I live in Vancouver in a loft, and our main living area is one big room. The TV is on a big wooden dresser, with a black couch in the centre of the room.

Do you snack when you watch TV?

Not really, but we’ll often have dinner in front of the TV because we don’t have a dining room… That will all change when we move.

Who’s your favourite person to watch TV with?

My fiancé [camera assistant Preston Cook], definitely. He usually introduces me to shows, and mostly they’re on Amazon or Netflix but it takes so long to decide what to watch, even when the options are right there in front of you. I love Veep, and a cartoon about a depressive horse called Bojack Horseman. I really enjoy older British comedies like Black Books, and I’m a big fan of Steve Coogan – I love Mid-Morning Matters with Alan Partridge.

Alan takes the edge off the grim reality of the world, doesn’t he…

I’m a little bit obsessed with keeping up with the news. It’s almost like watching a train wreck, and Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers have been nailing it on late-night TV in the US. Their opening monologues are a medicine from the current state of US politics.

So you look to escape when you watch TV?

Yes, or I’ll go on YouTube. I’ll go down what I call the “rabbit hole” and end up watching short video clips from Dancing with the Stars and The Voice – things that my fiancé wouldn’t like – and old concert footage of Amy Winehouse, a lot of Madonna and Prince. Purple Rain is a bit of a guilty pleasure – it’s such a terrible movie but so much fun.

What apps do you use?

I use a car-share one and Duolingo for language-learning. We filmed Riviera in France for seven months, so I’m trying to keep up my French now I’m back home. Sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast called News in Slow French and try and pretend I can understand it.

How do you feel about podcasts?

I love them – my favourite right now is The Daily, a New York Times podcast that catches up on the news every day. I absolutely love Alec Baldwin’s podcast, called Here’s the Thing, which I’ll listen to while I’m making dinner. He has the perfect voice for radio.

What do you get up to when you’re unplugged?

Recently I’ve been reading Zadie Smith’s books. I started at her most recent, Swing Time, and really enjoyed it so worked backwards, now I’m reading her first novel, White Teeth. There are such gems of observation there, and you can see how much she’s evolved as a writer and found her own voice.

Are you a big tweeter?

I’ve had an aversion to Twitter because of Donald Trump: I’ve found it so gross because of him. I once thought there was a positive side to having people be succinct, and reduce what they wanted to say to 140 characters, but now it feels like it’s shrivelling ideas.

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Riviera is on Thursdays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic