‘Emily in Paris’ Star Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu Had a Childhood in Two Acts
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‘Emily in Paris’ Star Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu Had a Childhood in Two Acts

The actress on her famous father, growing up in Italy and France, and sharing secrets with her dog

By MARC MYERS
Thu, Dec 15, 2022 8:00amGrey Clock 4 min

Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, 59, is a French-Italian actress best known in the U.S. for her role in the French comedy series “Call My Agent!” She appears in season 5 of “The Crown” and currently stars as Sylvie in Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.” She spoke with Marc Myers.

Behind my family’s house in Rome was a garden. It was so large that as a child, I thought of it as a park. For me, that private setting out back in the middle of a city was magical.

The garden was my playground. It had so many different parts. There was a section with pine trees, another like a little acacia forest, and parts with wheat growing. It was a crazy garden but beautiful.

Our house was often filled with many of my parents’ artist friends, so my younger brother, Terence, and I spent a lot of time alone. I’d take my cocker spaniel, Caroline, into the garden and sit under a tree and tell her my secrets. My imagination grew.

My father, Philippe, was a very successful movie actor who made most of his films in Italy. Rome was the center of Europe’s film industry in the late 1960s and ’70s, and he was more popular there than in France.

My mother, Françoise, was initially an interior decorator, but she later designed jewelry, knitwear and accessories for Dior, where she worked for 20 years.

As a child, I thought of myself as Italian. In Rome, I was exposed to so much visual beauty that I wondered why other places weren’t as special. Italians were warm and teased me in a sweet way. I’d laugh a lot.

When I was 7, we visited my father on a set. He was in “The Life of Leonardo da Vinci,” a popular Italian miniseries in 1971. After makeup, he looked just like Leonardo in his self-portrait. I was stunned.

Because my father had a strong French accent, his voice in films was overdubbed. So when I saw the miniseries, he not only looked different but he sounded different. I’d have nightmares of my father speaking to me in strange voices.

Watching my father on set made me curious about being someone else. I came to realize that adults play at make-believe, not just children, and that playacting was a way for me to become an adult.

Then my parents divorced when I was 10½. Their separation was hard on me. My mother took Terence and me to live with her in Paris. She started working at Dior when I was 13.

The hardest part about leaving Rome was the loss of my country and identity. I had to rebuild the whole thing. In school, I wasn’t accepted as French. I didn’t speak the language perfectly and I didn’t have the same cultural references as other children. The kids were mean and called me terrible things. They often left me out. It was hard, but the experience made me the person I am, so it’s fine.

As a teenager, I began to sing in front of the mirror in my room. I’d sing songs from “Cabaret” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” At 13, I decided I was going to be an actor. I told my mother, but she was totally against it. The subtext was, “You’re not going to be like your dad.” I decided that as soon as I finished school, I’d do whatever I wanted.

After high school, I spent a year at the Sorbonne, studying French literature. While there, I had an Italian literature teacher who was fond of Italian drama. When he announced he was planning to stage Carlo Goldoni’s “La Locandiera,” I said I was in.

I was cast in the play. I took acting lessons and helped make costumes. We performed at the Italian Cultural Center in Paris. It felt very natural to be on stage.

When I was 19, I was cast in Roger Vadim’s French comedy, “Surprise Party.” Then came Judith Krantz’s “Mistral’s Daughter” and a TV miniseries in the U.S. In 1985, I had a major role in “Three Men and a Baby” in France, which was a huge hit. That launched my career.

My big break in America came during the pandemic. With the lockdown, people spent more time streaming series and saw me in “Call My Agent!” “Emily in Paris” came next.

Today, I live in an apartment in Paris’s Saint-Germain section on the Left Bank, where my parents first met. I moved in five years ago. The silence and calm make my home so peaceful.

I also have a beautiful view of the back of a neo-Gothic church. When Sunday Mass is held, I can hear singing and smell the incense if the wind is just right.

When I’m not shooting a TV series or a film, I love visiting the Fontainebleau forest, about a half-hour south of Paris. I can spend hours there walking the pathways and never run into anyone. It’s like my garden in Rome, only bigger.

Philippine’s Flips

Your role in “Emily in Paris”? They originally wanted someone 35 to 45 years old for Sylvie. I auditioned, but I didn’t hear back for months.

Why? They loved me for the part, but they first had to revise the script to make Sylvie a character who freely judges everyone.

Mom? She passed in early 2020. I treasure a brooch she designed and gave me. It’s a crescent moon with green and red stones and pendants hanging down.

Dad? I travel to Rome often to see him. He’s calmer, sweeter and softer now and very proud of what’s happening with my career.



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Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

By DEMETRIA GALLEGOS
Tue, May 28, 2024 4 min

We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

But the price of that could be that we have to share more of our medical information. After all, researchers can’t collect large amounts of data if people aren’t willing to part with that data.

We wanted to see where our readers stand on the balance of privacy versus public-health gains as part of our series on ethical dilemmas created by the advent of AI.

Here are the questions we posed…

AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).

Postmortem

People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.

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