The breakout success of the BBC America series Killing Eve has become one of the most buzzworthy dramas on television specifically with the critically acclaimed performances by Jodie Comer, Fiona Shaw and Sandra Oh, who won a Golden Globe and SAG award for her role as the titular Eve. The trio of actors took the stage at TCA with Executive Producer and writer Emerald Fennell and Executive Producer Sally Woodward Gentle to talk about the wild popularity of the series, how the show reflects the social climate and…Harry Potter comparisons.
Oh points out that while they were filming the first season, the #MeToo and TimesUp movement were on the rise. “It was amazing to be making a show and doing exactly what TimesUp is trying to do and trying to bring,” she says. “Our show examining and taking the female psyche seriously.” She adds that the series listens to and believes the female characters. That speaks to the current social climate and its something that Oh aligns herself with.
The show’s premise has been a “cat and mouse chase” — or as many have called it, a “cat and cat chase”. But most of all, it has been a major win for female-fronted series — so much that it continues to shoot down the concept of a “strong female lead”. The series moves us closer to where journalists don’t have to ask “how does it feel to be part of a show with such strong female characters?” Today was not that day. When asked a variation of the question, Oh simply said: “I think you’re putting a lot of context around creative choices that doesn’t go into making those choices…I’m interested in what I am interested in.”
Comer points out that she has enjoyed the complexity of the characters and how it is written by a woman who understands all of this. “It’s so much fun to play — it’s a real gift,” she says.
At the end of the first season, Eve (Oh) has stabbed Villanelle (Comer) and the second season picks up 30 seconds after their bloody scuffle. Comer and Oh talked about how the dynamic has changed in the sophomore season. Comer says we see how Villanelle’s emotional perception and reaction unravels after the stabbing. She says that it affects Villanelle and Eve unexpectedly, but with Villanelle, we see her in a different way at the start of the season.
“You see them vulnerable in different ways,” Oh chimes in. “They crossed a line and there’s no going back. We have a lot of energy in the beginning of the series…it pushes them to a different place of vulnerability.”
One unexpected comparison that popped up to describe the relationship between Eve and Villanelle was that of Harry Potter and he who shall not be named, Lord Voldemort — “neither can live for the other to survive.” The cast, including Shaw, who stars as Aunt Petunia in the magical blockbuster franchise, were surprised about the comparison — but it kind of made sense to them.
Oh points out that, like Harry and Voldemort, Eve and Villanelle’s relationship addresses the question: How can you come to terms with a relationship that is impossible? “That is what I think we are trying to figure out,” she says.
The second season of Killing Eve premieres April 7 on BBC America.