Entertainment

Sunday 18 August 2019

Jodie Comer: I struggled with switch in tones in Killing Eve

The British actress plays assassin Villanelle in the Bafta winning show.

Jodie Comer (Matt Crossick/PA)
Jodie Comer (Matt Crossick/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Jodie Comer has admitted she struggled to manage the shift in tones in Killing Eve when she was first cast as assassin Villanelle.

The Bafta-winning actress has won plaudits for her portrayal of the killer in the adaptation of Luke Jennings’ novella, which was developed for television by Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Comer said: “Initially I really struggled with that switch between comedy and darkness because it wasn’t something I’d done before.

“I had to break out of the mould I’d made for myself.

“Phoebe really helped me with that in the first season. During filming she would ask me to play a scene in the opposite way to how I’d initially read it.

“She made me realise that when you dare to do something that is a little absurd, or out of your comfort zone, you can make magic.

“When you’re in a safe environment and dare to take risks, you might come out with something really brilliant. Worst case, it doesn’t really work and you just move on.”

Sandra Oh, who plays MI6 agent Eve Polastri, added: “The tone of Killing Eve is very tricky and it’s hard to describe. It’s also hard to write, hard to perform and hard to nail down.

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Sandra Oh in Killing Eve (Aimee Spinks/BBC America)

“We understand what a drama, thriller or comedy genre is but Killing Eve is a real mash of all those three. This cast is phenomenal because everyone is grounding their performance in their own truth.

“There are crazy, heightened moments of high theatrics which are so over the top but completely grounded in truth. Then in the middle of all the hysteria is the ridiculousness.

“Even that is always situational and based in character. It’s never just jokes. It’s hard to describe the tone of the show but it’s also tricky to sustain because we bump in and out of genres.”

Comer said the progress of the relationship between Villanelle and Eve in the second series will be “really interesting,” after the agent stabbed the assassin in the series finale.

She added: “I’m really looking forward to the audience seeing Villanelle’s reaction to what happened at the end of season one.

“People already have ideas about how they think she’ll react but what she actually does could be surprising.

“The emotions they have for each other are still something that me and Sandra are figuring out.

“They spend a lot more time in each other’s company, as their two worlds collide, and it shifts the energy of the show. But whether that’s something Eve is happy about is another question. Villanelle is thrilled!”

Killing Eve returns to UK screens in June.

PA Media

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