Amandla Stenberg felt a rare level of freedom on “The Eddy,” Netflix’s new limited series from executive producer Damien Chazelle about the owner of a jazz club in Paris. Stenberg plays Julie, who moves to Paris to be with her father, Elliot (Andre Holland), the jazz club owner. “I felt like I understood parts of her angst and being a teenager and what that weird experience is like, trying to define who you are especially in the midst of really unstable circumstances,” Stenberg says of the character. Watch our full video interview with Stenberg above.
Stenberg was fascinated by Julie’s journey especially where we meet her at the beginning of the series. Julie has arrived from the United States to live with her father and explore the spellbinding world of jazz and the messy lives of the people who populate it, all while trying to figure out who she is. “She’s in a really unstable part of her life where she’s attempting to understand who she is but hasn’t really been given the resources or the tools to really know that,” Stenberg explains. “She has to go on this journey where she puts herself in some pretty stupid situations in order to be forced to finally reflect and confront who she is instead of projecting out this bravado all the time.” This is highlighted in the second episode of the season, where Julie goes missing on the streets of Paris and winds up in unfamiliar territory.
It was similarly new terrain for Stenberg to explore, who says Chazelle, director of the first two episodes, allowed for creativity and improvisation. The actress was able to lean into “parts of myself that are not the most protagonistic or likable even, leaning into all the colors of adolescence.” With “The Eddy” taking influence from French New Wave cinema rather than the Hollywood studio productions Stenberg has been a part of, she admits to struggling at first to adjust to some of the non-conventional aspects of storytelling. She would quickly find her way into the story and come to appreciate Chazelle and writer Jack Thorne‘s vision for the show to reflect the improvisational nature of jazz in the production itself. For Stenberg, whose first name comes from the 1989 album by jazz legend Miles Davis, it gave her a further connection to “the roots of jazz.”
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