Thursday 23 May 2019

Jodie Comer reveals knack for accents comes from mimicking adverts as child

The actress took part in a Q&A session ahead of the second serious of Killing Eve.

Jodie Comer: I can do Killing Eve accents after mimicking adverts with my dad (Ian West/PA)
Jodie Comer: I can do Killing Eve accents after mimicking adverts with my dad (Ian West/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Jodie Comer has said doing a wide range of accents in Killing Eve came naturally to her after mimicking TV adverts with her father growing up.

The Liverpool-born actress said she finds it difficult to separate herself from characters if she speaks in her own voice.

Comer, 26, won the leading actress prize at the Bafta TV Awards on Sunday for her role in the hit drama series but her acceptance speech at the ceremony surprised some fans who were not used to her real accent.

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Jodie Comer won the leading actress TV Bafta on Sunday (Matt Crossick/PA)

Her character in Killing Eve, Villanelle, is a psychotic multilingual assassin.

Speaking at a Q&A event in London ahead of the second series airing in the UK, Comer said she thinks her knack for accents stems from her youth.

She said: “Growing up, me and my dad would always like, if there was an advert on the TV with a silly voice on, we’d always impersonate it around the house just joking around, and I think through doing that I’ve now got an ear for it.

“I mean, some are a lot harder than others, don’t get me wrong, and you have to concentrate and work (on them).

“But for me it helps me because when I’m doing my own accent I find it harder to separate myself from the character, for some reason, I don’t know why.

“But you also don’t see a lot of Scousers on the telly so maybe we need to change that up a little bit.”

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Fiona Shaw attending the Killing Eve Season 2 photo call and QandA held at Curzon Soho, London (Ian West/PA)

She added: “It’s something I really enjoy doing.

“I remember when I auditioned they told me about the languages, and you always get told if you get asked in an audition if you can ride a horse, you say yes, even if you can’t.

“So that’s what I did with the languages.”

In the drama, Villanelle switches between Russian, French and English, pulling off convincing accents for each language.

Comer’s character in the programme becomes obsessed with MI6 operative Eve Polastri, played by Sandra Oh, who also becomes obsessed with Villanelle while trying to track her down.

In the first series their cat-and-mouse takes them across the world trying to find each other but they are rarely on screen together at the same time.

Comer said being apart from Oh for long periods of time helped build the chemistry between their characters.

She said: “We were like passing ships in the night in season one.

“Whenever Sandra was in, I wasn’t, which actually added to the tension when we did come together to do that scene. It felt charged.

“But within series two they do come into contact a little bit more.

“I feel like whenever we get together on set we find another piece of the puzzle and we still don’t have a lot of the answers, which I don’t mind.

“I find that quite exciting because with each opportunity we find something new.”

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(Left to right) Julian Barratt, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Nina Sosanya, Fiona Shaw, Owen McDonnell and Edward Bluemel (Ian West/PA)

Comer appeared at the Q&A session alongside her co-star Fiona Shaw – who plays Eve’s boss and the head of the Russia section at MI6, Carolyn Martens – and Sally Woodward Gentle, who executive produces Killing Eve alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge – who penned the first series – and Lee Morris.

The second series, written by Emerald Fennell, features the return of Comer, Oh and Shaw alongside a new supporting cast including W1A star Nina Sosanya, Sex Education actor Edward Bluemel and The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt.

The popular programme picked up three gongs at the TV Baftas – leading actress for Comer, best supporting actress for Shaw and best drama series.

The second series has already started airing in the US and will come to the UK in June on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, although the premiere date has not yet been revealed.

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