Jodie Comer teases a little of what we can expect from Villanelle as Killing Eve S2 begins
01 July 2020
01 July 2020
Spy dramedy Killing Eve S1 ended in blood and tears last week like a lethal children’s party. Former MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and her stylish assassin target, Villanelle (Jodie Comer), were lying on Villanelle’s bed in her trashed apartment together after exchanging confessions following an entire season of mutual obsession, stalking and a weird kind of courtship. Then Eve seemed to surprise them both by stabbing Villanelle. It was a moment of instant regret and recrimination… even more so after Villanelle vanished.
The chase picks up again on Wednesday, 1 July on FOX (DStv 124), but we got a sneak preview from Jodie of what else is to come.
“Villanelle has to escape the apartment before she’s found. She’s in a pretty bad way and has to get herself out of that situation. As the story progresses, we find out how Villanelle reacts to Eve stabbing her. I’m not sure whether it’ll be what people expect her reaction to be, but it’s interesting,” she says. “The emotions they have for each other is still something that Sandra and I 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!” Jodie adds. And she doesn’t hold back answering more questions.
What’s in store for Villanelle this season?
The most interesting part about coming back to play Villanelle is the exploration of her emotions and feelings, or lack of them. A huge conflict arises in her head from how she thinks she feels about Eve and the other relationships in her life. I think that’s another reason why the audience took to her. There’s a flicker of humanity about her and just when we think we’ve found it, we lose it again.
I think the audience relate to Villanelle in ways that they may not want to. I always refer back to the opening sequence in S1, where she knocks the ice cream over the little girl. I’m sure we’ve all wanted to do that before, but we never have. I think they admire her, and want to high five her, but know she is not to be messed with. Her playfulness and childlike quality take away the terror at moments where we should really hate her. Often, we sympathise or even agree with her which makes her seem a bit like us.
What is your attraction to Villanelle as a character?
Everything attracted me to Villanelle. I expected her to be one thing and she was the total opposite. I read “assassin” and immediately thought of a sexy woman in a catsuit scaling walls in six-inch heels, but Villanelle felt more real than that. She has a sense of humour and makes mistakes, which is so relatable. Assassins can sometimes feel like creatures from another planet, like they’ve got superpowers, whereas there’s something very earthy about Villanelle. That has continued through to S2. She’s so much fun to play. She gets away with murder, quite literally, but I love her.
Killing Eve isn’t your everyday spy/assassin show…
What Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Killing Eve’s executive producer and series Fleabag creator and star) did in setting up these characters is so unique. It’s also because of the tone and how it switches between humour and terror or tragedy. There are two women leading the show which is different; it’s not a man chasing a woman. We have two women who are equally fascinated and cautious of each other and that has broken a lot of stereotypes, particularly with Villanelle’s character.
Killing Eve mixes drama, thriller and comedy genres. What is it like to switch between these tones?
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.
How do you develop your character after getting the script?
First of all, I learn the lines, which helps give me an initial idea of how I want to play the scenes. But I never like to be too set in stone before I begin filming. Everyone who is a part of this show has a cracking sense of humour, so when we get in a room to discuss the scripts and read through scenes it’s really fun, as well as very productive. I love the collaborative relationship between actor and director and enjoy figuring it out together on set.
One of the lovely things about coming back this season, was that I already felt like I understood Villanelle. I’m probably the person on set who understands her the most. It was nice to have that air of confidence.
Killing Eve takes in cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and London. What is it like filming in these major cities?
Pretty much all filming has been on location for this season. When we were filming in Paris, France won the World Cup (2018), so it was pretty epic to see all that craziness going on. Amsterdam was beautiful. Actually, filming there makes the story feel authentic and as if you’re right there while it’s happening. The locations in Rome were insane. It’s another reason why I feel very lucky to be a part of the show; we get to see places that I would never usually have the chance to visit.
What would you like an audience to take away from Killing Eve?
I want the audience to come away having had fun and having enjoyed it. Our show doesn’t have a huge message to the world and that is probably why people enjoy it so much. They can escape through it and live through the characters, having fun with it. The characters are definitely on another journey and the story has to push forward. Things have to change and hopefully the audience will come along with us. The response has been enormous; there were some incredible Villanelle Halloween costumes and fan art. I’ve never been part of a show that’s had such an amazing reaction, so it’s been really lovely. It’s really nice coming to S2 knowing that there are people eagerly waiting for the continuation of the story.
Watch Killing Eve S2 from Wednesday, 1 July on FOX (DStv 124) at 20:45 or on Catch Up
Sign up for DStv Now, a free service for all DStv subscribers. With DStv Now the same channels you watch on your decoder at home are available for you to stream online or using the DStv Now app on your phone.