If you have yet to watch Season 3, Episode 3, “Coo D’état,” you might want to stop reading to avoid spoilers. But if you’re caught up with Sylvie’s elaborate scheme to get her old Savoir office back, then read on to hear actor Kate Walsh break down one of the funniest scenes of the show. Yes, it involved pigeons. And yes the pigeons were real.
“The pigeons were insane. We had one trained pigeon and one wild pigeon. Whoever thinks they’re gonna work with pigeons? Not me,” Walsh told Decider while laughing over a Zoom interview.
To recap, the episode shows Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) cozying up to Henri, her former building manager, in hopes of forcing Emily (Lily Collins) and Madeline (Walsh) out of her old office space. He agrees to treat Emily and Madeline “like pests” so they’ll flee the office. He turns up the heat to an unbearable temperature and releases a pigeon, which sends Emily and Madeline spiraling.
After a serious struggle, the two shoo the pigeon out of the room ahead of Madeline’s important Zoom meeting with Chicago Gilbert Group executives. But when Madeline calls in to the video chat, she realizes she still has a cat filter from Emily’s pet food campaign pitch enabled and doesn’t know how to get rid of it.
While Madeline desperately tries to stop herself from looking like a cute cartoon kitten, the pigeon returns to wreak havoc on her call. After calling for Emily, dropping F-bomb, and throwing perfectly good croissants across the room to cope with the chaos, Madeline’s call awkwardly concludes and she’s mortified.
According to Emily in Paris press materials, “the pigeon fiasco scene at the Savoir office was inspired by a similar event that took place in the writers’ room when the team was writing Season 1.” And of course, the cat filter mishap was inspired by that viral clip of real-life Texas attorney Rod Ponton, who accidentally joined a video chat with a cat filter and couldn’t figure out how to disable it. The scene is masterclass in a physical comedy from Collins and Walsh, who scream, squirm, shoo and tries to play it cool as the pigeon terrorizes their office. And Walsh said the scene was just as fun to shoot as it was to watch.
“Yeah, the pigeons, the cat filter…You remember during COVID the cat filter, that meme that went around? I remember when I first read the script I was thrilled but I was also like, ‘Is this gonna work?’ Because it was so funny in real life with that older gentleman and it was so hysterical that I’m like, ‘Oh no, this isn’t gonna be as funny.’ But it was so funny. I really enjoyed shooting it,” Walsh said.
For a moment, you may wonder if that frantic pigeon is CGI. But no. Walsh and Collins worked with real birds on set to make the scene as authentic as possible. “The pigeons were insane. We had one trained pigeon and one wild pigeon. Whoever thinks they’re gonna work with pigeons? Not me,” Walsh laughed. “But we leaned in, and those pigeons leaned in. They brought it. The pigeons brought it.”
Walsh went on to say that both she and Collins had “a really good time” filming the unique scene, though they were genuinely frightened at certain points. “It was really fun. And Lily was really fun. It was very organic, and I think we both yelped very realistically when that wild one came through the set,” she said.
Emily in Paris Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.
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