From Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), the BBC America series Killing Eve is centered on two women – Eve (Sandra Oh), a bored but smart MI5 security officer who’s forever stuck at her desk job, and Villanelle (Jodie Comer), a talented killer who thoroughly enjoys her work. When these two women happen to cross paths, they become equally obsessed with each other and find themselves in an epic and thrilling game of cat-and-mouse.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actress Jodie Comer talked about why she wanted to be a part of Killing Eve, learning to understand her character, Villanelle’s fantastic wardrobe, whether we’ll learn about why she ended up in this line of work, how her carelessness will get her in trouble, what Villanelle thinks of Eve, her desire to do as many of her own stunts as possible, and why she could play this character for the rest of her life.
Collider: Was this one of those instances where you read a character like this and there’s just no way that you could say no?
JODIE COMER: Yeah, absolutely! I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this script, but particularly last year, I was really hungry to do something modern-day and edgy, and this come through. I was just like, “Whoa, I’ve never read a character like this before!” Also, I wanted to work with (show creator) Phoebe [Waller-Bridge]. I was a huge fan of Fleabag and I knew that whatever she touches has her special imprint on it. I feel like it can’t be replicated anywhere. You get some scripts where you’re just like, “I’ve gotta do this! I have to!” It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s special.
It seems like one of those characters that, after you get attached, you would be crushed, if someone else got the role.
COMER: Yeah, exactly! I was like, “If I didn’t get this, I can’t watch it! I just can’t do that to myself!” To be fair, if you didn’t get the part and someone else does, you can usually watch and go, “Yeah, I totally see why that person got the role.” Luckily, I didn’t have to go through that because I got it.
Does it make the physicality of a role like this easier, when you can wear modern clothes and actually breathe?
COMER: Yeah. It’s a funny one because the pro of period drama costumes is that they are so transformative. It’s so easy to get into character. Not that it isn’t with modern-day clothes, but it just has that extra little something. But Villanelle has the most insane wardrobe, ever. The clothes that I got to wear were ridiculous, so I was more than happy on this job. It was also the same costume designer as The White Princess, Phoebe De Gaye, so it was lovely.
Is it hard to really understand a character like this, who is constantly trying to be other things, depending on the situation?
COMER: I did struggle with that. My approach to her was that I thought she’s just like an actress. She has these different personas, and she creates them. That’s how I approached it, rather than her being so many different people in her brain. It was more that she’s Villanelle, and these are her little characters that she picks up and leaves, if she needs them. That’s how I trained my brain to understand what I needed to do, or what she was doing.
Will we get to know more about why she ended up in this profession?
COMER: Yeah, you do. As the story goes on, you definitely do see a little bit more of an insight into that. As the investigation progresses and they find out more information, you do learn a little bit about her. I don’t think her past excuses what she does, but I think it definitely gives you a little bit more of an understanding, as to who she is and where she’s come from, definitely.
It’s one thing to kill people and it’s another thing entirely to enjoy it, which she seems to do.
COMER: Yeah, absolutely! It’s like a life force for her. I feel like her job gives her purpose, for sure, and she wants to do a good job. She’s had so many conversations with Konstantin (Kim Bodnia), where she’s like, “Did you see what I did?! Did you see how good that was?! Are you impressed with me?! Because I’m impressed with me!” She’s so self-confident. She’s brilliant.